Arnold Palmer King of the PGA tour dies at 87

first_imgArnold Palmer, a Pennsylvania greenskeeper’s son who became one of golf’s most charismatic champions and made millions of dollars by turning his popular “everyman” image into one of the most lucrative sports brands in the world, died Sunday at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, according to his longtime assistant Doc Griffin. Palmer was hospitalized in preparation for heart surgery, but Griffin said he did not know the exact cause of death. He was 87.         Palmer rose from a blue-collar background to become part of the sport’s royalty — he was colloquially known on the PGA tour as “The King” — and frequent playing partner of U.S. presidents. He left an indelible mark on the world of golf in the form of nearly 300 signature-designed courses, and Arnold Palmer Enterprises, which handled his endorsements and other ventures, helped make Palmer the first golfer to make his name a worldwide franchise.         Many credit Palmer with inventing golf as a televised sport, becoming the game’s first well-known star by helping to put a name and face to the game. Palmer’s vitality and boyishly handsome looks helped attract many new fans to the sport who watched on television. “I’ve got sex written all over my face,” Palmer once said.         Emerging as a superstar athlete in the 1950s, Palmer did not play golf courses; he attacked them. Armed with a brutish swing that more resembled a hockey slap shot than a daisy cutter, Palmer brought energy and zest to the staid game that men before him such as Bobby Jones and Sam Snead played wearing tweed coats and knickers.         Standing 6-feet-2, with broad shoulders, beefy arms and massive hands, Palmer was known for bombing drives off the tee and then stalking his ball down the fairway, striding long bounds while dangling a thin cigarette between his fingers.last_img read more