He was born in Latrobe Pennsylvania, but his golfing talents won fans all over the world. He played with Presidents and royalty: but never lost his touch with regular people. Arnold Palmer was a golfing giant who brought the game from the country club to millions of fans on television. He had a devoted fan base known as Arnie’s Army and they would march all over the world roaring at his successes. His rivalries with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player went from fierce competition on the course to friendship in later years. He teamed up with Mark McCormick to form IMG and made millions of dollars in endorsements. However, he donated millions to build hospitals to help women and children in Orlando, Florida. His tournament at Bay Hill brings the best golfers in the world every year. Every golfer from Tiger Woods on down should thank Arnold Palmer for making the PGA Tour what it is today in terms of prestige, television ratings, and huge purses of money.
He won on the golf course with a flair and style that defined him as a competitor. He would defeat prostate cancer in that same indomitable spirit. His humanity off the course would endear him to his fans. When Palmer passed away last Sunday at age 87 golf and sports fans all over the world pause to pay their respects. Tomorrow is his funeral in Latrobe and legends will tell stories about his charity work, drive to compete and still be the man, of the people despite his worldwide fame.