The timing is bold but the topic has been on the minds of many who follow pro golf: too many of today's lavishly paid stars act in sharp contrast to Arnold Palmer in character, actions and passion for the game.
Ryan Lavner at GolfChannel.com says the passing of Mr. Palmer puts the onus "on the players to decide for themselves how to honor his legacy."
That’s why these days, weeks and months ahead are an important period of reflection for the current pros.
There is an ever-widening divide between fans and the stars of our game, the mega-millionaires who are safe in their cocoon, protected by managers and publicists and image specialists. The money has never been greater – Rory McIlroy deposited $11.44 million Sunday; Palmer made $1.86 million in his career – and the lifestyles never more different. Each year, it seems, they only drift further away, the connection becoming more tenuous.
And so, moving forward, will our stars use their fame, their fortune and their status to shield themselves from the public, from the fans that enriched their fabulous lives? Or will they stay grounded and humble and relatable – will they stay connected – the way Palmer did?
The Olympic Zika virus fiasco this summer opened the door to this discussion and while the debate is not something that should overshadow the remembrances of The King, but throwing the point out seems fair as we hear from the players over the next few days about how they view Palmer's legacy and their places in the game.