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ARNOLD PALMER R.I.P.

September 10, 1929 – September 25, 2016

BY BELINDA WILSON

The Dick Pope Legacy Awards recognizes leaders that have strengthened the sustainability of Florida’s hospitality and tourism industries and they are celebrated at the Grand Tour Foundation’s annual luncheon. This year the luncheon is to be held at the Wyndham resort on the 4th of November and the foundation is due to recognize Arnold Palmer as a 2016 honoree. Regrettably this will now be a posthumous award as the golfing legend recently died on the 25th of September just 15 days after his 87th birthday.

Palmer as an American golfer is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the sport's history. As a professional he won 92 national and international championships, 62 of them on the PGA Tour, and seven majors led by four green jackets from The Masters.

Nicknamed "The King", he was one of golf's most popular stars and an important trailblazer, His social impact was unrivaled among his fellow professionals because of his humble background and plain-spoken popularity which helped change the perception of golf as an elite, upper-class pastime to a more populist sport accessible to middle and working classes.[

Since his move to Central Florida in the late 1960’s he successfully developed several business enterprises that helped sustain tourism and economic impact through sports initiatives.  In 1969 he purchased Bay Hill Club & Lodge, the host course of Orlando’s premier annual PGA Tour event and The Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard was just one of his worldwide licensing and endorsements events.  He co-founded TV’s Golf Channel in 1995 and has made a truly meaningful contribution with the Arnold Palmer Medical Center comprising The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies.

His reputation therefore as one of the best sportsmen and businessmen in the world for nearly half a century means that Palmer’s lasting impact on the Central Florida community will be honored when he is immortalized on the walls of the Orange County Convention Center. His bronze likeness will appear on the Dick Pope Hall of Fame when a representative of Arnie’s Army Charitable Foundation will speak on Mr Palmer’s behalf- “It gives us great pleasure to have Mr. Palmer recognized for his significant impact on Florida’s golf industry and our community. Dick Pope is well-known.

for his commitment to community works and philanthropy and it is an honor for Mr. Palmer to be acknowledged and celebrated with an award that bears Mr. Pope’s name.” 

Due to be served as the luncheon is a drink of iced tea with lemonade an “Arnold Palmer” named after the great American golfer. 

It has also been reported that shortly after the spreading of the great man’s ashes at his hometown Latrobe Country Club in Pennsylvania during a private service attended by family and close friends. A rainbow appeared over his statue.

………………………Arnold Palmer gone but certainly not forgotten.