Arnold Palmer passed away Sunday at his home near Pittsburgh, Pa.
His long time friend and competitor Jack Nicklaus said: "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."
At a time when some professional golfers were still tooling around the course in plus-fours, Palmer popularized a modern, exciting form of golf on the edge, often scrambling to save par or even come in under par after having driven off-line into the woods or a bunker.
He played by the seat of the pants that he regularly hoisted back up to his waist — an everyman gesture that endeared him to duffers around the world. They were known as "Arnie's Army."
His biographer, James Dodson, told NBC News on Sunday: "He was the most charismatic player in golf history. Because of him, golf boomed. He took it from being a sleepy country club game to America's game."
Tim Finchem, commissioner of the PGA Tour, agreed, saying late Sunday: "It is not an exaggeration to say there would be no modern-day PGA Tour without Arnold Palmer."
Other golfers also lined up to pay tribute Sunday. Tiger Woods said it would be hard to imagine "anyone more important to the game than the King."
Although I'm not a huge golf fan I always admired Arnold Palmer. He was a world class gent.
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