Rory McIlroy shares emotional letter sent by Arnold Palmer

Rory McIlroy has shared a touching letter sent to him in 2011 by golfing legend Arnold Palmer – after the Northern Irishman’s maiden career victory in the US Open.

Palmer, who sadly passed away aged 87 in September of last year, was widely regarded as one of the sport’s greatest ever, having won 62 PGA titles across a career that spanned more than six decades.

Nicknamed The King, and widely accepted to have been one of the biggest factors in making golf into worldwide phenomenon that it is today, Palmer was as famous for his off-the-course behaviour and conduct as he was on. 

Whilst with many other athletes that so often meant controversy and headlines of the wrong variety, Palmer was a breath of fresh air in a sport that – prior to his involvement and success – was all too often viewed as an elitist and upper-class hobby. 

Hailing from a working-class background in Pennsylvania, Palmer became famous for his down to earth nature and plain speech, and is widely credited with being one of the most important figures in the sport’s commercialisation and rapid growth. 

Now, with McIlroy – and a host of other elite level golfers – set to take part in the Arnold Palmer Invitational in Orlando, the Northern Irish golfer has shared a touching personal letter sent to him by Palmer after his maiden career Major victory back in 2011. 

The letter, posted on McIlroy’s Instagram account, congratulates the golfer on his performance throughout the tournament, but also offers words of wisdom on how to deal with the fame that comes with success.

One paragraph reads: “You have the opportunity to give back to the game that is making you famous and I hope, and certainly feel sure, that you will lie up to that obligation in the months and years ahead. Just continue to be yourself. Don’t change.”

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The letter then concludes by inviting McIlroy to participate in his annual tournament, an invitation which clearly meant a great deal to the young golfer.

This year’s Invitational will be the first since Palmer passed away last year, and McIlroy is expected to be amongst a long list of past and current golfers who will pay tribute to the man that so many in the sport looked up to. 

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