Beloved golfing great Palmer dies at 87

Updated: 2016-09-27 07:51

By Agence France-Presse in Washington(China Daily)

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'Made golf sexy'

Although Palmer's presence around the game had become less regular in recent years, today's young stars were aware of the iconic player's impact on their sport.

"Let's be honest, it's kind of a nerdy sport," Australia's Jason Day said this year. "Arnold Palmer made golf sexy."

Palmer, born on Sept 10, 1929, was the son of the club professional and greens superintendent at Latrobe Country Club. Palmer started caddying at 11 and went on to work almost every job at the club.

Fans identified with his blue-collar background, and he never forgot his roots even as he piloted his own jet to charity functions and business meetings and became a friend of presidents and corporate bigwigs.

Palmer attended Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship. At age 24, he won the 1954 US Amateur at the Country Club of Detroit.

Later that year, Palmer turned pro. In a career that spanned more than six decades, he won 62 PGA Tour titles, putting him at fifth on the Tour's all-time victory rankings.

He led the PGA Tour money list four times, and was the first player to win more than $100,000 in a season.

He played on six Ryder Cup teams and was the winning captain twice.

In 1974, Palmer was one of the original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

"For all who love the game of golf and love to see it played, there has never been a sight quite like Arnold Palmer walking down the fairway toward the 18th green," said former president George W. Bush, who awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004.

In 2012, Palmer was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, giving him both of the highest honors the United States can give to a civilian.