In a day already marked by tragedy with the death of the budding MLB star Jose Fernandez, Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers to have ever lived, has also passed away.
Palmer was a golfer’s golfer, an everyman who displayed an unbridled charisma rarely seen in such a buttoned-up sport like golf. There was no mystique surrounding him – instead there existed a relatability that still escapes most modern athletes as the spotlight places them upon an untouchable pedestal. And this belied his nickname, “The King,” a moniker that perfectly captured his vaunted reputation and immense skill, as displayed by his seven Majors and 62 PGA tour wins.
He was beloved by many, bested by few, and was one of the most truly important athletes to have ever lived, propelling golf into the mainstream with his winning ways and palpably cool persona. His style, the cigarettes, the victorious celebrations – it all transcended a sport where showmanship was uncommon. If the drink named after him, the “Arnold Palmer,” doesn’t speak to the cultural impact he has had, few things will. He will forever endure as one of the greats, and if it weren’t for him and his long career, golf would not be what it is today.