The name Arnold Palmer is known throughout the golfing world by players of all abilities and ages. He is the undisputed 'King' of golf and his charismatic personality is the reason golf is as big as it is today.
The past two decades have been dominated by the name Tiger Woods but without Palmer's influence on the golfing industry, Woods would not be the household name he is now.
Palmer won seven majors between 1958 and 1964 and was named the 'King' because of his sheer brilliance on the course and natural, enigmatic presence.
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Palmer has been a huge influence in developing golf from the hobby it once was into a universal sport that has created some of the greatest sportsmen the world has ever seen. In 1995, Palmer co-founded the America's Golf Channel which is now available in over 80 million US homes. Without the introduction of the mainstream media, the likes of Tiger Woods, Paula Creamer and Rory Mcilroy would not be the awe-inspiring renowned brands they are today.
As the professionals on the PGA Tour get ready to tee up at the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill. The focus still remains firmly fixated on Palmer as he has announced that for the first time since 2007 he will not hit a ceremonial tee shot at this year's Masters in Augusta.
Due to a lingering shoulder injury, Palmer has been unable to swing a club for the past few weeks. He will however, attend the Champions dinner and will go out on the course to see fellow golfing legends Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player hit their opening drives on the first day's play.
The 86-year-old said: "Am I disappointed by that? Well, sure, but time moves on. I stopped playing in the Masters in 2004, I stopped playing in the Par-3 (contest) last year, and now it's time to end this part of my Masters career. I would love to go on doing it forever, but I don't have the physical capability to hit the shot the way I would want to hit it. So I'll have to be content to watch."
Palmer's absence from the first tee will be sorely missed but he will leave the watching public in the very capable hands of Nicklaus and Player.
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