by Joey Johnson
He was, and always will be the King. More than that, though, he was a man of the people.
Golf is an amazing game – a wonderful game. No one person is bigger than the game. What Arnold Palmer did, though, was make golf BIGGER. He made it better.
Today’s PGA Tour Professionals can win more money in one event than Arnold won in his entire career. They have that opportunity in large part because of him. He set the stage.
He played with a combination of force, style, and charisma that had never before been seen, nor rivaled since. He did it all at a time when television cameras were first there to capture the action and send it into homes around the world. Golf fans loved him and more people began to love golf.
He set the bar on how to win, how to lose, how to act, and how to treat people.
He was a true renaissance man – equally comfortable driving his golf ball or driving his tractor, flying by the seat of his pants on the golf course or flying his Cessna around the world, spending time with heads of state and celebrities or signing autographs for his adoring fans.
There are young children playing golf today because a parent or grandparent was first drawn to the game by Arnold Palmer. That is his enduring legacy. He continues to give back and to grow the game.
He got a great deal from the game of golf – championships, wealth, fame, adoration. He gave us so much more. The world mourns his death now, but his life will be celebrated forever. Long live the King!