Legendary golf champion Arnold Palmer, who brought fans to TV and help found the Golf Channel, died from heart problems Sunday. He was 87.
Palmer , the first golfer to earn $1 million in career prize money, was a charismatic figure and “Arnie’s Army,” as his fans were called, filled not only galleries on the course, but drove TV ratings and made him a powerful spokesman for brands in commercials.
He was and likely will remain the most important golfer of all-time. He will be remembered for popularizing the game of golf and revolutionizing the business of sport, but for those who were lucky enough to meet him, they will always remember how special he made them feel. He was always genuine and generous with his time, no matter if the cameras were rolling or not,” said Mike McCarley, president, Golf, NBC Sports
Palmer co-founded Golf Channel with Joe Gibbs in 1995. It was the first single-sports cable network. Golf Channel was sold to Comcast in 2005. Today, Golf Channel is available in more than 200 million homes in 84 countries and 11 languages around the world.
Golf Channel went live with coverage of Palmer’s death Sunday morning and aired continuing coverage throughout the day. It plans to air a special presentation of the Golf Channel Films’ Arnie form 8 p.m. till midnight.