CHASKA, Minn. (WCCO) — Hazeltine flags reflect the sadness and heavy hearts. The international golf family has lost a world legend.
“It is a really sad day because there’s a hole in the game of golf that just can’t be filled,” said Phil Mickelson.
From great golfers to great fans, Arnold Palmer was the game, transforming it from a sport of the rich, to the everyday. And Arnie’s Army was born, cheering him on to 62 PGA wins, seven majors, including four green jackets.
It was Palmer who told Mickelson how to treat the fans, because they make it possible for you to play.
“He used to say never walk past anybody, always look them in the eye and acknowledge their presence,” said Mickelson.
PGA champion Jimmy Walker says Palmer was from a different era, but left a lasting impression for today’s young golfers.
“Through the history of the game and what he’s done, I think he’s probably helped grow the game more than any person that’s ever played, and that’s huge,” Walker said.
Palmer was well-known off the course for his commercial endorsements and humanitarian work. In 2004 he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
“Golf and golfers promote some sort of human values that symbolize so many Americans,” Palmer said at the time.
And to his fans, a great golfer — but an even better person.
“Yes, he’ll be missed. He was a great gift for golf through all that time,” Ryder Cup fan Ed Sweeney said. “Right up to this year.”