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The sports world lost a legendary figure Sunday, as golfer Arnold Palmer died at 87 years old.
The United States Golf Association shared the news about the icon:
We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf’s greatest ambassador, at age 87. pic.twitter.com/iQmGtseNN1
— USGA (@USGA) September 26, 2016
Golf Digest reacted to the news: “Rest in peace, Arnie. You are forever a legend in golf and in life.”
Jordan Cornette of Campus Insiders commented on Palmer’s death as well: “Arnold Palmer lived a beautiful life. I hope he passed in the grace with which he lived. May the legend rest in peace.”
Palmer, a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, was one of the best players in the history of the sport. The Hall of Fame’s website says, “It is not hyperbole to say that golf’s place within popular culture today is due in large part to the powerful presence of Arnold Palmer.”
The Hall of Fame pointed out Palmer’s timing as a star in the 1960s, when television was just starting to become a popular medium. It noted that he used his “boldness and charisma” to appeal to fans as one of the most endearing figures in the sport.
Palmer did more than win fans with his charisma. He prevailed at plenty of tournaments in some of the most pressure-packed moments, ranking fifth on the PGA Tour’s all-time wins list with 62 titles.
He won seven major championships—four Masters, two British Opens and one U.S. Open—in his career, which places him in a tie for seventh place on the all-time list. Palmer also won at least one PGA Tour tournament in 17 straight years (1955-71), which is tied for the most ever with fellow legend Jack Nicklaus.
Palmer parlayed his victories on the course into a successful career off it as well. He was often the honorary starter at the Masters with Nicklaus and also had the Arnold Palmer beverage named after him, which is a combination of iced tea and lemonade.
He was involved with golf course design and was a principal owner of Bay Hill Club & Lodge, where the Arnold Palmer Invitational occurs. He was also a consultant for Golf Channel.
Palmer left an impression on other golfers, as Zach Johnson’s reaction to the news can attest: “My heart aches with [the] passing of the King…Mr. Arnold Palmer. What he did for golf cannot be measured. Athlete, pioneer, philanthropist, family man and much more. … RIP Arnie.”
As Johnson indicated, Palmer’s impact was immeasurable. He helped shape the game of golf, and it will not be the same now that he is gone.