Arnold Palmer Dies at 87, Made Golf Popular For Masses 

File- This April 5, 2007, file photo shows former Masters champion Arnold Palmer acknowledging the crowd after hitting the ceremonial first tee shot prior to the first round of the 2007 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Palmer, who made golf popular for the masses with his hard-charging style, incomparable charisma and a personal touch that made him known throughout the golf world as "The King," died Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Pittsburgh. He was 87. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

File- This April 5, 2007, file photo shows former Masters champion Arnold Palmer acknowledging the crowd after hitting the ceremonial first tee shot prior to the first round of the 2007 Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga. Palmer died Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Pittsburgh. He was 87. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

PITTSBURGH – Arnold Palmer brought a country-club sport to the masses with a hard-charging style, charisma and a commoner’s touch. At ease with both presidents and the golfing public, and on a first-name basis with both, “The King,” died Sunday in Pittsburgh. He was 87.

Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, confirmed that Palmer died Sunday afternoon of complications from heart problems.

Palmer ranked among the most important figures in golf history, and it went well beyond his seven major championships and 62 PGA Tour wins. His good looks, devilish grin and go-for-broke manner made the elite sport appealing to one and all. And it helped that he arrived about the same time as television moved into most households, a perfect fit that sent golf to unprecedented popularity.

Beyond his golf, Palmer was a pioneer in sports marketing, paving the way for scores of other athletes to reap in millions from endorsements. Some four decades after his last PGA Tour win, he ranked among the highest-earners in golf.

On the golf course, Palmer was an icon not for how often he won, but the way he did it.

The head of the European Tour has credited Palmer for making golf a truly international sport by playing the British Open in the early 1960s.

Palmer first played the British Open in 1960, finishing runner-up in an appearance that invigorated a tournament which Americans had been ignoring for years.

European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley says “without question Arnold’s participation in The Open Championship in the early 1960s was the catalyst to truly internationalize golf.”

File-This July 15, 1961, file photo shows Arnold Palmer smiling with his trophy and medal after winning the British Open Golf Championship by a single stroke at Royal Birkdale course in Birkdale, Lancashire, England. Palmer, who made golf popular for the masses with his hard-charging style, incomparable charisma and a personal touch that made him known throughout the golf world as "The King," died Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, in Pittsburgh. He was 87. (AP Photo, File)

File-This July 15, 1961, file photo shows Arnold Palmer smiling with his trophy and medal after winning the British Open Golf Championship by a single stroke at Royal Birkdale course in Birkdale, Lancashire, England.  (AP Photo, File)

Pelley says “the fact he was loved and recognized by everyone across the globe, whether they be fans of golf or not, is testament to his charismatic legacy that will live on.”

Palmer was made an honorary member of The European Tour in 1995.

Pelley says “in this week of the playing of the 41st Ryder Cup in particular, we remember fondly his time as a six-time Ryder Cup player and two-time captain.”

Organizers of the British Open have paid tribute to Arnold Palmer for his “immeasurable” contribution to golf’s oldest major.

Martin Slumbers, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient, says Palmer was “a true gentleman, one of the greatest ever to play the game and a truly iconic figure in sport.”

Slumbers says “his contribution to The Open Championship was, and remains, immeasurable.”

Palmer won seven majors, including two British Opens, in 1961 and ’62. He last played the Open in 1995, 35 years after his first appearance.

Slumbers says Palmer “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.”

About CapeCod.com NewsCenter

The award-winning CapeCod.com NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local, regional, and national news. We are on the job seven days a week. You can also hear the CapeCod.com NewsCenter by tuning into Ocean 104.7 FM.

Speak Your Mind

*


More From CapeCod.com