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Leader of 'Arnie's Army' dies

Golf legend Arnold Palmer, whose style and everyman quality led to a worldwide legion of followers known as "Arnie's Army," died Sunday at age 87. He died at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he had been since Thursday while undergo...

Honorary starter Arnold Palmer gestures after hitting a drive to begin the 2007 Masters golf tournament on the first tee at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2007 in Augusta, Georgia. Reuters / Mike Blake / File Photo.
Honorary starter Arnold Palmer gestures after hitting a drive to begin the 2007 Masters golf tournament on the first tee at the Augusta National Golf Club on April 5, 2007 in Augusta, Georgia. Reuters / Mike Blake / File Photo.

Golf legend Arnold Palmer, whose style and everyman quality led to a worldwide legion of followers known as "Arnie's Army," died Sunday at age 87.

He died at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he had been since Thursday while undergoing heart tests, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

Palmer, a Latrobe, Pa., native who won seven major championships in his career-the Masters four times, the British Open twice, and the U.S. Open once-is most famous for bringing the elitist game to the masses with his dramatic flair and blue-collar background.

The U.S. Golf Association tweeted, "We are deeply saddened by the death of Arnold Palmer, golf's greatest ambassador, at age 87."

Tiger Woods tweeted, "Thanks Arnold for your friendship, counsel and a lot of laughs. Your philanthropy and humility are part of your legend. It's hard to imagine golf without you or anyone more important to the game than the King."

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Palmer's health deteriorated the past couple of years. His last public appearance was on the first tee of the 2016 Masters.

His career accomplishments are plentiful.

Palmer attended Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship. At age 24, he won the 1954 U.S. Amateur at the Country Club of Detroit. Later that year, Palmer turned pro. In a career that spanned more than six decades, he won 62 PGA Tour titles, good for fifth all-time. He led the PGA Tour money list four times, and was the first player to win more than $100,000 in a season. He played on six Ryder Cup teams, and was the winning captain twice.

In 1974, Palmer was one of the original inductees into the World Golf Hall of Fame. In 2004, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and in 2012 he was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, giving him both of the highest honors the U.S. can give to a civilian.

Palmer also presided over the Arnold Palmer Invitational every March, the only living player with his name attached to a PGA Tour event.

He is survived by his second wife, Kit, daughters Amy Saunders and Peggy Wears, and six grandchildren.

Related Topics: GOLF
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