”With his homemade swing and homespun charm, Arnold Palmer had swagger before we had a name for it,” Obama said in a statement.
Palmer, 87, died Sunday in Pittsburgh.
Throughout his golf career, Palmer earned 62 PGA tour victories and seven major titles, including four wins at the Masters. Palmer was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and a Congressional Gold Medal in 2012.
Obama praised Palmer for his work off the golf course as well, which included creating an endowment at Wake Forest and founding the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, Florida, which he named for his first wife after her death. Obama said Palmer “did it all with a grin that hinted maybe he had one more shot up his sleeve.”
Obama first remembered “The King” on Twitter Sunday night:
“Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer,” Nicklaus said. “He was an icon. He was a legend.”
Read Obama’s full statement on Palmer below:
With his homemade swing and homespun charm, Arnold Palmer had swagger before we had a name for it. From a humble start working at the local club in his beloved Latrobe, Pennsylvania, to superstardom as the face of golf around the globe, Arnold was the American Dream come to life.
Along the way he racked up win after win – but it wasn’t his success that made him King. Arnold’s freewheeling, fearless approach to the game inspired a generation of golfers and, for the first time on TV, enthralled an audience across the world. Sure, we liked that he won seven majors, but we loved that he went for it when he probably should have laid up.
That spirit extended beyond the links where he gave freely of himself and poured everything he had into everything he did: from building hospitals to personally responding to countless letters from his fans. And he did it all with a grin that hinted maybe he had one more shot up his sleeve.
Today, Michelle and I stand with Arnie’s Army in saluting the King.