Player: Palmer transcended the game of golf


Gary Player will miss his "dear friend" Arnold Palmer after learning of his old rival's death aged 87 on Sunday.

Palmer, Player and Jack Nicklaus were branded 'The Big Three' during their numerous battles in the 1960s, the trio sharing 34 major titles between them during their careers.

In later life, the trio could be seen together at the start of the Masters in their role as honorary starters, a mark of respect bestowed on them since 2007.

Palmer was unable to take his shot in the most recent tournament at Augusta National, though, as his health began to deteriorate.

His passing on Sunday has led to a flood of tributes, with Player adding his memories of one of golf's greatest.

"I have so many vivid memories of our time together competing around the world, with our families, helping each other's charities, and just being together," the South African said in a statement.

"Arnold was many things to many people and undoubtedly made golf more popular, but to me he was simply a dear friend for over 60 years. Of course, like anybody we had our differences but these never stood in the way of our relationship and I will miss him terribly. 

"He could be difficult and demanding but also blessed with charisma, charm and patience. Arnold Palmer simply transcended the game of golf. He was inspirational to so many and lived his life to the fullest. 

"He had a slashing, dashing style accompanied with a knowing smile. He was loved by all even when they did not know him. He always made an effort, even when the odds were stacked against him. Our prayers go out to Kit and his entire loving family.

"I will raise my glass and toast your life tonight my friend, and hope to be reunited for another round together in time. Rest In Peace. I love you."