News that the ‘King’ of golf, Arnold Palmer, has passed away has been met with sadness by all of those in the golf industry and beyond.
Palmer won seven Majors and was one of the original inductees of the World Golf Hall of Fame. His importance to golf was immense – he played a key role in raising the profile of the sport and changing the opinion that it was only a game for the wealthy. By playing in the Open in the 1960s when many Americans didn’t make the effort he is also credited with helping to establish the event on the world stage.
Martin Slumbers, Chief Executive of The R&A, 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.”
Jack Nicklaus commented: “Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in his sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself. Along the way, he had millions of adoring fans—Barbara and I among them.
“We were great competitors, who loved competing against each other, but we were always great friends along the way. Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed. He was the king of our sport and always will be.”