It was 1986 and Jack Nicklaus had just pulled off one of the greatest victories of his career. At the age of 46, Jack’s Major winning days looked far behind him. This was the first time he’d won a major in nearly 6 years and the golfing world responded accordingly.
Arnie was quick to send him a telegram, congratulating him and showing the fighting spirit that defined his career.
Of course Arnie was being slightly facetious, he hadn’t won a Tour event since 1973 and was nearing the end of his career on the Senior Tour. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t being a semi-serious 56-year-old, I mean heck, Tom Watson was 59 when he nearly pinched the 2009 Open Championship.
It’s with great sadness that we remember this legend. I for one think this weeks Ryder Cup will help provide a focus for the collective mourning of the golfing community.
I just got the news at about 8:45 that Arnold had passed. I was shocked to hear that we lost a great friend—and that golf lost a great friend. At this point I don’t know what happened, and I suppose it is not important what happened. What is important is that we just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports. My friend—many people’s friend—just wore out. I know he was in Pittsburgh trying to find out how to make himself better. That’s what Arnold has always tried to do. He has always been a fighter and he never gave up on anything. He didn’t give up even now. Maybe his body did, but I know Arnold’s will and spirit did not. I wish I had another chance to talk to him, but I am so glad we talked a couple weeks ago on his birthday (Sept. 10), when he sounded great. So Barbara and I are just in shock and incredibly saddened. Our hearts, thoughts, prayers and sympathies go out to Kit, his kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and his entire loving family. He was one of my best friends, closest friends, and he was for a long, long time. I will miss him greatly. Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in his sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself. Along the way, he had millions of adoring fans—Barbara and I among them. We were great competitors, who loved competing against each other, but we were always great friends along the way. Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed. He was the king of our sport and always will be. #ArnoldPalmer #ArniesArmy