“The King” of Golf, Arnold Palmer passes away at 87


courtesy of sports news

Pro Golfer Arnold Palmer

Jenna Simon, news and politics editor

On Sunday Sept. 25, golfing legend Arnold Palmer passed away in Pittsburgh at the age of 87. “The King” of golf died at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center due to complications from cardiovascular problems for which he was being treated.

Originally from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, Palmer began golfing at a young age from his father, who was the greenskeeper at their neighborhood country club. After playing golf through most of his adolescence, he earned a golf scholarship for Wake Forest College in North Carolina. After some time, Palmer left the college to enlist in the United States Coast Guard. After serving for three years, he returned to Wake Forest and continued participating in competitive golf. Palmer’s career took off after he won the 1954 U.S. Amateur in Detroit. According to Palmer, this success gave him the confidence he needed to take his golfing to the professional level.

It did not take long for Palmer to become successful as a professional golfer. In 1955, just around a year into his career, Palmer earned his first professional victory in the Canadian Open tournament. His list of achievements would only continue to grow throughout his career, which lasted over 50 years. Some of his most notable golf accomplishments include being the Professional Golfers’ Association’s player of the year in both 1960 and 1962, being a member of the Ryder Cup Team for eight years and a captain for two of those years, earning the 1998 PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award, and being an original member of the World Golf Hall of Fame. By the end of his career, Palmer would have over 90 official professional golfing wins.

Off of the golf course, Palmer was known as an ambassador for golf. Coming from a middle class background, his casual and modest disposition attracted audiences to a sport which previously had a reputation for being dominated by the upper class elite. Many give credit to Palmer’s popularity for the fanbase many golf tournaments, especially televised events, have today. Additionally, Palmer was known as a generous philanthropist. Palmer’s public services included raising over $3 million for research on prostate cancer through his project Arnie’s Army Battles Prostate Cancer in 2002, and the opening of the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women in 1998. Palmer was nationally recognized for these services, and has received some of the highest honors awarded to civilians in the United States. In 2004, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and in 2009 he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

Today, Palmer is remembered by his second wife Kit, and his daughters Amy and Peggy. Palmer will continue to be honored as the man who made golf accessible to all, who served his community, and who was a role model to the many athletes who followed in his footsteps to pursue professional golf.