Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers in the game’s storied history, died Sunday evening in Pittsburgh. He was 87.
Memories of the seven-time major winner have come fast and furious over the last several days.
“Arnold Palmer was one of those so rare people. He was this iconic figure in our sport, yet he was as approachable as the guy next door,” Golf Week senior writer David Dusek said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “He really was. It’s cliche, but it’s true. He took time out to answer every question. When the cameras were rolling and things were going on and he’s on TV and he’s holding court, he’s great. When the cameras would turn off, he would still sit there and take questions – and a lot of times when you’re in the media center or you’re at a locker room, there’s a scrum and guys can’t wait to get out the door. Arnold Palmer would sit and get cozy. He’d get comfortable. He was there and he was there right from the get go.
“You’ve heard so many stories,” Dusek continued. “I’m sure your listeners at this point have read things and have saw it. It’s all true. It’s all true. In an era now where athletes communicate to fans through social media and guys are so much more standoffish for various reasons, Palmer’s method of social media was a handshake, was looking you in the eye, was talking to people face-to-face, and it endeared him in such a way to the fans right off the bat. Arnie’s Army was this force of nature, but it just kept going. It didn’t stop when his playing.”
Palmer would even hand-write notes to first-time Tour winners. Hey, congratulations. Great tournament. Looking forward to seeing you over the course of the next year. Hope you can make my tournament in Latrobe.
It wasn’t anything fancy, but it meant the world to people.
“Guys frame those things,” Dusek said. “Guys will cherish all those memories about Arnold Palmer. I could go on and on and on. Golf is so fortunate to have had Arnold Palmer be a part of our sport, to be the diplomat and sort of the ambassador, if you will, of the game. Because no sport at any time – any time – had somebody as good or better than Arnold Palmer to represent it to the rest of the world.”