GOLF ‘The King’ passes away at age 87
ARNOLD Palmer, the golf great whose charisma and common touch drew a legion of fans known as “Arnie’s Army” and propelled the game into the mainstream, died on September 25 at the age of 87.
Palmer’s longtime assistant Doc Griffin confirmed the player known as “The King” had died at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital.
No cause of death was immediately given, although the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported he had undergone cardiac tests.
“We just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports,” 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus said.
“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.”
Palmer captured seven major tournaments during his illustrious career, taking The Masters four times (1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964), the British Open twice (1961 and 1962) and the US Open once (1960).
His go-for-broke style, raw athleticism and unorthodox swing enthralled fans, and he became one of golf’s first television superstars, helping make the sport accessible to a much wider audience.
His rise – along with that of Nicklaus and Gary Player – set the stage for the sport’s huge broadcast rights fees and prize money riches, which were later enhanced by the success of Tiger Woods.
“Thanks Arnold for your friendship, counsel and a lot of laughs,” Woods said on Twitter. “It’s hard to imagine golf without you or anyone more important to the game than the King.”
Palmer looked frail when he joined fellow icons Player and Nicklaus for the ceremonial first tee shot at the Masters in April.
For the first time in 10 years, he didn’t swing a club, instead sitting in a chair to watch the spectacle.
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.
“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 September 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 big-wigs.
“Palmer went to bed at night with charisma. And the next morning he woke up with more,” legendary Sam Snead once said.
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 US$100,000 in a season.
He played on six Ryder Cup teams and was the winning captain twice, and launched a business empire with the help of Mark McCormack, founder of pioneering sports marketing company International Management Group.
In 1974, Palmer was one of the original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Identified most strongly with the Masters, Palmer’s British Open victories are credited with reviving US interest in the championship.
He never managed to complete the career Grand Slam, finishing second three times in the PGA Championship – in 1964, 1968 and 1970.
It didn’t matter to fans who treasured his humility or his rivals who knew he redefined their sport.
“Arnold transcended the game of golf,” Nicklaus said. “He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself.” –
FIFA’s all-powerful executive committee, which had become the epicentre of corruption at the organisation, was rebranded as a FIFA council at the body’s congress in Mexico earlier this year.
It was created to operate in a similar way to a company’s board of directors as part of plans to make the organisation more transparent, including in the awarding of host countries for World Cups, following a string of corruption scandals.
Three male candidates – Zhang Jian of China, Iran’s Ali Kafashian Naeni and Zainudin Nordin of Singapore – will compete for two of the seats in today’s vote, which will be attended by FIFA President Gianni Infantino
Three women are contesting the third slot under FIFA’s reforms which state that each confederation must have a minimum of one female representative on the council.
Former Australian footballer Moya Dodd is favourite to pip Mahfuza Ahkter of Bangladesh and North Korea’s Han Un-Gyong to be the AFC female representative.
Infantino is undertaking a cleanup of FIFA after a series of corruption scandals and bribery allegations plunged the body into crisis.
Former president Sepp Blatter is serving a six-year ban from football over ethics violations while former secretary general Jerome Valcke was banned for 10 years over misconduct regarding television deals and 2014 World Cup ticket sales.
Allegations of vote-buying have also dogged the awarding of the 2018 World Cup to Russia. –
US golfer Arnold Palmer changed the game of golf forever with his combination of charisma and athleticism.