Arnold Palmer was the most important golfer to play the game and is a huge loss to our industry. His force of charisma put the game on the map and made a colossal contribution to the sport.
During a long career he won more than 90 tournaments worldwide, including seven majors and 62 PGA Tour wins, but it is the development of the image of the sport that he will truly be remembered for.
As tributes flooded in from across the world of golf, Tiger Woods tweeted: “Thanks Arnold for your friendship, counsel and a lot of laughs. Your philanthropy and humility are part of your legend.”
Palmer attracted thousands of diehard fans known as “Arnie’s army” and helped to promote the game into the television age and helped lay the groundwork for the funding structure and fan base that we as owners rely upon today.
He also gave his name to a professional tournament – The Arnold Palmer Invitational, held each March at his private golf resort in Bay Hill, Florida.
Jack Nicklaus put it well, tweeting “We just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports, Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend.”
The R&A called Palmer a gentleman who would live long in people’s memories. Its chief executive Martin Slumbers said: “It is with great sadness that we have awoken to hear the news of Arnold Palmer’s passing. He was a true gentleman, one of the greatest ever to play the game, and a truly iconic figure in sport.
“His contribution to The Open Championship was, and remains, immeasurable. He will be missed and forever remembered by all at The R&A and throughout the world of golf as a charismatic and global champion of our game.”
He will be dearly missed by those of us lucky enough to have met him and will be remembered as one of the driving forces behind the industry as we know it today.