Phil Mickelson has thanked Arnold Palmer for the strong influence he had on his career after the golfing great passed away on Sunday.
Palmer was recognised as one of golf’s ‘Big Three’ in the 1960s alongside Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, the trio helping turn the game into the global phenomenon it is today.
During his illustrious career Palmer won seven major titles and was recognised as much for his amiable personality as for his talent on the course.
Mickelson is one of those who cherished Palmer’s work and the three-time Masters champion paid a heartfelt tribute to the man affectionately known as ‘The King’.
“I’ve respected a number of players who came before me but Arnold Palmer was my model on and off the course,” he said in a statement quoted by the Golf Channel.
“As an amateur I played my very first practice round at the Masters with him at his invitation. I saw how much time and attention he gave to fans, the media and worthy charitable causes.
“I’m like every other fan of his enormous influence on the game and his great generosity off the course.
“I’m saddened by his death but I’m a better player and perhaps a better person thanks to his example.”