Arnold Palmer: 1929-2016
Participants from The First Tee of Metropolitan New York had the great privilege of meeting Arnold Palmer at a MetLife/MGA Foundation Youth Clinic in 2008.
ELMSFORD, N.Y. (September 26, 2016) - The game of golf lost not only one of its greatest champions but also one of its greatest ambassadors with the passing of Arnold Palmer on Sunday evening (Sept. 27) at the age of 87.
The seven-time major champion elevated the popularity of the sport with an all-or-nothing style of play and an undeniable charisma. Just as golf began to reach the masses on television, his game and personality caught everyone’s attention—his passionate followers coming to be known as Arnie’s Army.
Palmer was born in Latrobe, Pa., and grew up learning the game at Latrobe Country Club, where his father worked. He attended Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship and later enlisted in the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1954, his win at the U.S. Amateur set his eyes on the professional ranks, where he claimed his first of 62 PGA TOUR victories at the 1955 Canadian Open.
While his impact was extensive on the course, Palmer also made great strides for professional golfers in the business world as he became one of the most marketed and recognizable athletes of his time—something he carried well beyond his playing years. Off the course, Palmer held ownership of Bay Hill Golf Club and Lodge and was instrumental in launching the Golf Channel. He also had a notable course design company, laying the foundation for upwards of 200 golf courses.
The Metropolitan Golf Writers Association recognized Palmer on multiple occasions, the latest being in 2001 when Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player—The Big Three—were presented with the Golden Anniversary Award to honor their long-running influence on golf. Palmer received the Gold Tee Award from the MGWA in 1965 and was also presented with the Bing Crosby Tournament Sponsor Award for the Bay Hill Classic.
His legacy on and off the golf course is sure to live on forever.