2016 has been a rough year for sports fans. It has nothing to do with wins on the field, but the losses off of it.
The sports world has lost several giants this year, the latest being Arnold Palmer.
Palmer may not have been as transcendent in the ring as Muhammad Ali or as dominating on the ice as Gordie Howe, but he's the guy with whom most people identify.
You could also argue that no one has had a bigger impact on his sport than Arnold Palmer.
My dad was, and still is, a huge fan of golf. So growing up, golf was on T.V. a lot on the weekends. As a little kid, there were basically four golfers I recognized; Jack Nicklaus, Lee Trevino, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer. My dad was a huge Jack Nicklaus fan.
After all, The Golden Bear was basically Tiger Woods before Tiger. I would sit there with my dad and watch Nicklaus wins majors and other tournaments.
Every time I would say "That Jack Nicklaus is good", my dad would shoot back "he wouldn't even be there if it wasn't for Arnold Palmer."
The King made golf available for everyone; men and women, pros and weekend hackers, it didn't matter. Palmer is the guy who would go win the Masters, then ask you to have a beer afterwards.
My grandpa was a huge Palmer guy. Probably because Palmer was huge during my grandpa's hey-day on the golf course. They even had similar swings.
Palmer is also the guy who drove up the prize money for golfers. Tiger Woods wouldn't have made the money he did, if Arnold Palmer didn't make it first.
Of course, Woods has made more money. Guys like Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, and Rickie Fowler have too, but they all owe Palmer a debt of gratitude. Rest in peace, Arnold Palmer, and long live The King.
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