A legend of the links

Former Masters champion Arnold Palmer at at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Jim Young / Reuters
Former Masters champion Arnold Palmer at at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia. Jim Young / Reuters

As a professional sport, golf was a much different animal when Arnold Palmer began his career in 1954. In the mid-1950s, golf was the domain of privileged white males who viewed it more as the ultimate leisure activity than a serious competitive physical endeavour.

Thanks in great part to Palmer’s influence, professional golf is now a major global sport that includes top athletes from all backgrounds. Palmer, with his 95 titles and humble background, almost single-handedly changed the sport’s appeal by captivating a large and diverse audience of fans from women to the working class.

On the course, golf’s greatest and most recognisable faces from Jack Nicklaus to Tiger Woods have spoken warmly of Palmer as one of their greatest inspirations on the tour.

Palmer’s influence, however, will always be an inspiration for players and fans. The sporting world has lost a legend.

Published: September 26, 2016 04:00 AM

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