Golf

Nicklaus: Palmer will always be the King

2016-09-26 08:30
In this April 12, 1964 photo, Arnold Palmer, right, slips into his green jacket with help from Jack Nicklaus after winning the Masters (AP)

Cape Town - Jack Nicklaus has written a heartfelt letter to his former golfing rival Arnold Palmer, who passed away at the age of 87 on Sunday.

Palmer, known as "The King," captured seven major tournaments during his illustrious career, taking the Masters four times (in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964), the British Open twice (in 1961 and 1962) and the US Open once (in 1960).

Alongside Nicklaus and South Africa’s Gary Player, the trio became known as golf’s "Big Three" rivals of the 1960s.

Nicklaus, who won a record 18 major titles, was saddened to hear of the death of Palmer and took to Facebook and Instagram to write a heartfelt letter:

"I just got the news at about 8:45 that Arnold had passed. I was shocked to hear that we lost a great friend - and that golf lost a great friend.

"At this point I don’t know what happened, and I suppose it is not important what happened. What is important is that we just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports. My friend - many people’s friend - just wore out. I know he was in Pittsburgh trying to find out how to make himself better. That’s what Arnold has always tried to do. He has always been a fighter and he never gave up on anything. He didn’t give up even now. Maybe his body did, but I know Arnold’s will and spirit did not.

"I wish I had another chance to talk to him, but I am so glad we talked a couple weeks ago on his birthday (Sept. 10), when he sounded great. So Barbara and I are just in shock and incredibly saddened. Our hearts, thoughts, prayers and sympathies go out to Kit, his kids, grand-kids, great grandchildren, and his entire loving family.

"He was one of my best friends, closest friends, and he was for a long, long time. I will miss him greatly.

"Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in his sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself. Along the way, he had millions of adoring fans - Barbara and I among them. We were great competitors, who loved competing against each other, but we were always great friends along the way. Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed.

"He was the king of our sport and always will be."

I just got the news at about 8:45 that Arnold had passed. I was shocked to hear that we lost a great friend—and that golf lost a great friend. At this point I don’t know what happened, and I suppose it is not important what happened. What is important is that we just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports. My friend—many people’s friend—just wore out. I know he was in Pittsburgh trying to find out how to make himself better. That’s what Arnold has always tried to do. He has always been a fighter and he never gave up on anything. He didn’t give up even now. Maybe his body did, but I know Arnold’s will and spirit did not. I wish I had another chance to talk to him, but I am so glad we talked a couple weeks ago on his birthday (Sept. 10), when he sounded great. So Barbara and I are just in shock and incredibly saddened. Our hearts, thoughts, prayers and sympathies go out to Kit, his kids, grandkids, great grandkids, and his entire loving family. He was one of my best friends, closest friends, and he was for a long, long time. I will miss him greatly. Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend. Arnold was someone who was a pioneer in his sport. He took the game from one level to a higher level, virtually by himself. Along the way, he had millions of adoring fans—Barbara and I among them. We were great competitors, who loved competing against each other, but we were always great friends along the way. Arnold always had my back, and I had his. We were always there for each other. That never changed. He was the king of our sport and always will be.

A photo posted by Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) on

Read more on:    jack nicklaus  |  arnold palmer  |  golf
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