Reaction to golf great Arnold Palmer’s death Sunday at age 87 in Pittsburgh:
“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.” — Jack Nicklaus.
“It’s hard to believe that Arnold has passed, and I’m deeply saddened by his loss. He meant so much to the game and to me personally. I knew that I could always call him for advice, and I looked forward to seeing him at Bay Hill and the Masters. Arnold touched so many people. My kids were born at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies, and his philanthropic work will be remembered along with his accomplishments in golf. It was an honor and privilege to have known Arnold, and I’m forever grateful for his friendship.” — Tiger Woods.
“We have lost a great friend and giant in our sport tonight with the passing of Arnold Palmer. There is no way to adequately express the immense sense of loss that we all feel with this news. He obviously meant so much not only to the PGA Tour, but to the entirety of golf by lifting it to newfound visibility and popularity. It is not an exaggeration to say there would be no modern day PGA Tour without Arnold Palmer. There would be no PGA Tour Champions without Arnold Palmer. There would be no Golf Channel without Arnold Palmer. No one has had a greater impact on those who play our great sport or who are touched by it. It has been said many times over in so many ways, but beyond his immense talent, Arnold transcended our sport with an extraordinarily appealing personality and genuineness that connected with millions, truly making him a champion of the people. The fact that his popularity never waned more than a quarter century after his last competitive victory speaks volumes to the man, the icon and the legendary figure he was.
More than his words, Arnold’s actions spoke to his unequivocal love of golf and belief that no individual can be or should be bigger than the game. Arnold totally gave of himself to support golf and its growth. He has served as a role model for generations of PGA Tour members in ways large and small. The game, and all of us involved with it, are so much richer for having had the fortune to have Arnold willingly serve as its global champion and ambassador.
Beyond being an invaluable friend of the TOUR who generously gave of his time, opinion and support, Arnold was a wonderful personal friend and was someone who was always there for me with advice, support and guidance. We will all miss him so.” — PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem.
“The Masters Tournament, together with the membership of Augusta National Golf Club, joins the global sports and golf community in honoring the memory of Arnold Palmer.
“The very essence of the Masters is twofold: to summon nothing less than greatness from the men who annually compete for the title of Masters champion, and to inspire people from all over the world through the magnificence of the game of golf. History at Augusta National will show that Arnold answered the calling for Masters greatness throughout his career, winning the Green Jacket in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964. The inspiration we drew from Arnold Palmer, however, is what we celebrate now and forever.
“Arnold’s bold and daring approach to the game, combined with his citizenship, warmth, humor, humility and grace, were truly the signature of the man that we came to know, and will fondly remember, as The King. His presence at Augusta National will be sorely missed, but his impact on the Masters remains immeasurable — and it will never wane.
“Our thoughts are with Arnold’s beloved wife Kit and his entire family. We look forward to the 2017 Masters Tournament, when we will do our very best to appropriately pay our respects to Arnold Palmer — a Masters legend, our game’s finest ambassador, and a hero to generations of people throughout the world.
“Most importantly, we, his friends at Augusta National Golf Club, will always love him.” — Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament.
Arnold was the folk hero of golf. Not only was he the greatest personality the game has produced, he was King of the fairways every time he played. We were only two weeks apart in age and great rivals. We certainly had some wonderful times together. The last time we played was an exhibition at The Australian Golf Club in Sydney on Nov. 24, 2004. The occasion was the centenary of the Australian Open and Bruce Devlin joined us for the nine-hole match on the eve of the tournament. At last year’s Open Championship at St. Andrews, we were rival captains in the four-hole Past Champions event and, although our team scores were the same, Arnold’s team won the charity donation by being the older team of the two. St. Andrews was a fitting final place for us both to meet. Mary and I are terribly saddened by the news of his death, and our thoughts are very much with Kit, and his daughters and their families. Bless you always, Arnold.” — Peter Thomson.
“Barbara and I mourn The King, Arnie, the people’s champion. He brought golf to millions by his daring and caring. We miss him already.” President George H.W. Bush.
“The world has lost an original, a sports legend, a true gentleman, and a generous and compassionate human being. I have lost a friend. … I first learned of Arnold Palmer from my father. He was a member of “Arnie’s Army.” He didn’t even play golf — and he loved ‘The King.'” — Condoleezza Rice.
“I’m heartbroken tonight. Arnold Palmer defined what it is be a professional inside and outside the ropes. All of golf says ‘thanks Arnold.'” — Peter Jacobsen.
“Legends never die … you will live on forever Arnie … I will never forget the bear hug in front of the clubhouse at Augusta, to watching you hit your final tee shot there, and to spending time with you in the locker room at Bay Hill … thank you for being you and giving me the opportunity to do what I get to do every day! I Love you as did everyone. RIP The KING!!” — Rickie Fowler.
“The Legends of all Legends in the game of golf! RIP my friend, always loved u and always will! God Bless my Friend! #AP” — John Daly.
“I’m one of the fortunate folks to have spent time with the King. Incredibly blessed to have known him.” — David Duval.