CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – Arnold Palmer, one of the most popular figures in golf, passed away Sunday at the age of 87. On Monday, some local fans remembered the King.
Palmer won 62 tournaments and created a fan base known as “Arnie’s Army.”
“He was great. I get emotional,” John Gaydos said. “Just the way he treated people in general, no matter who it was. That was his best feature.”
That was the appeal of Arnold Palmer. A fiercely competitive golfer, mixed with a dashing style.
Rusty Dremich has a story like no one else. He had the once-in-a-lifetime experience of sitting across the table from Palmer.
“He was my idol growing up. I probably sat there, looked like a goof staring at him while we were eating lunch, but he treated you like he knew you all his life,” Dremich said. “I’m just fortunate that I grew up in his era. I’m fortunate to have seen the guy. The kids after, they won’t know who he is, which is a shame.”
Palmer won seven majors during his reign atop golf. His go-for-broke style was a hit with Americans.
“He made golf. His personality, his unusual swing, his aggressiveness. He’s the king of golf, deservedly,” Dick Black said.
Jamie Kirsch says even when Palmer lost, he remained his hero.
“[I] was disappointed when Johnny Miller beat him at Oakmont. Disappointed when Jack Nicklaus beat him and was the new hero on the block, but he’s still our hero.”
Western Pennsylvania holds a true link to the man who made golf an international sport in the 1960s, and golfers feel there will never be another person like him.
“The shoes are just too big to fill,” Jim Cornish said.
Gaydos says that’s just because of the way Palmer was.
“There will never be another Arnold Palmer. More golfers should be like him.”
Palmer’s funeral will be later this week and limited to family. A public farewell will be held in Latrobe next Tuesday after the Ryder Cup.