One of the greatest legends of the game of golf has been honored with the Congressional Gold Medal. The Los Angeles Times reports that Arnold Palmer — who helped fuel the growth of the sport as a television presence with his charisma and his golf success in the 1950s and 1960s — received the award today in Washington.
Palmer, 83, took the opportunity to joke about the lack of consensus in the nation’s capital, quipping: "I’m particularly proud of anything that the House and Senate agree on.”
“In 2009, Congress approved — and President Obama signed — legislation by Rep. Joe Baca (D-Rialto), an avid golfer, awarding Congress’ highest civilian honor to Palmer,” the Times reports. “At the presentation Wednesday in the Capitol Rotunda, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) choked up as he recounted his experience with Palmer on a practice green at Pebble Beach, describing how the men shared stories about their fathers’ influence on their lives.
"’Here we were standing in one of the most venerable places in golf. We weren’t there talking about golf. … We were there talking about our fathers,’ Boehner said. ‘We cried our eyes out,’ he added.”
Palmer won seven Majors between 1958 and 1964, including winning The Masters four times. He won 29 PGA Tour events, including five Majors, from 1960-1963 alone.
Palmer joins a list of recipients of the Congressional Gold Medal that includes the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Walt Disney and fellow golfer Byron Nelson.