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FGCU students react to the death of Arnold Palmer

Reported by Emily Kois and Miguel Rodriguez.

Legendary golfer Arnold Palmer died late Sunday, Sept. 25 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the age of 87.

Alastair Johnson, chief executive of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, told The Golf Channel – which Palmer co-founded – that Palmer died from complications of his heart problems.

“I was so sad to find out about the passing of Arnold Palmer as he was a legend,” junior sociology major Ashley Kimbrough said. His death came as a shock to me and I immediately thought of all his accomplishments as a golfer.”

An original inductee into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974, Palmer was known as one of the biggest trailblazers in the golf community. After a three-year stint with the U.S. Coast Guard, Palmer became a professional golfer in 1954.

The four-time Masters winner quickly rose to stardom in the 1960s with his unmatched style and charisma on golf courses around the world.

Palmer captivated audiences young and old, inspiring millennial golfers today. Golfers were not only inspired by his unbelievable ability, but also his outreach to the community off of the golf course.

“Arnold Palmer was apart of the “Big Three” in gold during the 1960s and really changed the way the game of golf was played,” said Junior Marine Biology major Madison Easterbrook said. “What inspires me the most about him is how well respected and loved he was among the golf community.”

Continuing his play in the Senior PGA Tour, now known as the Champions tour in the ‘80s, the Latrobe, Pennsylvania native won 10 events and five senior majors. Palmer retired from tournament golf in October 2006.

Even after his retirement, Palmer’s successes were never out shadowed or diminished as other players of the sport began playing. His legacy remained strong, regardless of whether or not he was playing.

“ The impact that he had on the game such as, 62 PGA tour wins, 4 Master’s titles, and overall changing the game of golf,” Kimbrough said.

Palmer is the only athlete to ever receive two of the nation’s highest civilian awards. The Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004 and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.

Along with being known for his ceremonial kick-off at The Masters from 2007 to 2016, Palmer was also known for his legendary half lemonade and half iced tea drink served in restaurants and sold at stores across the nation.

As the sports world continues to mourn the loss of Jose Fernandez, who died in a boat accident earlier Sunday morning, many teams and athletes are also sharing their condolences for Palmer.

Golfer Tiger Woods tweeted, “It’s hard to imagine golf without you or anyone more important to the game than the King.”

Golfers – pro or not, were all affected similarly as they were extremely saddened with the lost of a legend, but thankful to have had the opportunity to watch him to transform the sport whether he was playing or not.

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding the maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented,” Arnold Palmer.

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