Larger than life golfer Arnold Palmer died on Sunday, September 25, at age 87.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Palmer was not the most accomplished man in his sport. Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus (with whom Palmer had a rivalry), Walter Hagen, and a few others have achieved more victories over the course of their careers. However, Palmer was the most iconic, with a trademark swing, striking physique, and charm.
That said, his victory count is none too shabby: he won 62 PGA Tour events and over 90 international tournaments.
He also became a giant in marketing, endorsing all manner of products, from sporting equipment to cigarettes to Coca-Cola. And as television became a fixture in American homes, Palmer became a beloved household name. He filled in for Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show, and Dwight Eisenhower dropped by on the golfer’s 37th birthday.
And yes, as you probably guessed, the “Arnold Palmer” is indeed named after him: one of Palmer’s preferred beverages was lemonade mixed with iced tea.
He was called the “King” of golf, but the title wasn’t to his liking.
“There is no king of golf,” Palmer remarked, “Never has been, never will be. Golf is the most democratic game on Earth...It punishes and exalts us all with splendid equal opportunity.”
Mere hours after his death was announced, mourners far and wide began to post internet tributes — a testimony to Palmer’s far-reaching renown and to his enduring legacy.