U.S. Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL), along with Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA), today offered an effort to award golf legend Arnold Palmer the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the U.S. Congress. The award would be issued in recognition of Palmer's service to the nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship.
"Throughout his career, Arnold Palmer has presented himself as a positive role model and mentor to millions," said Martinez. "He has made tremendous contributions to the sport of golf by bringing recognition to the game worldwide. Palmer has built a successful business as an entrepreneur and spokesperson, while always giving back to Florida and the nation through his many charitable efforts. It is fitting we bestow this award on a man known for his positive influence around the world."
"To say that someone is one of the greatest athletes to emerge from Western Pennsylvania is no small statement, and I have no doubt that Arnold Palmer is worthy of such an accolade," said Casey. "With his seven career major victories-including four Masters titles-Palmer is one of the greatest golfers of all time. Palmer's excellence on and off the links make him meritorious of this prestigious award."
In his professional career, Arnold Palmer amassed 92 championships; 4 in professional competition of national or international stature by the end of 1993 and 62 of which came on the Professional Golf Association Tour. Palmer has been the recipient of numerous honors including virtually every national award in golf and both the Hickok Athlete of the Year and Sports Illustrated's Sportsman of the Year awards, and he was chosen Athlete of the Decade for the 1960s in a national Associated Press poll.
Palmer served as Honorary National Chairman of the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation for 20 years and played a major role in the fund-raising drive that led to the creation of the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando and the Latrobe Area Hospital Charitable Foundation in his Western Pennsylvania hometown. The U.S. House of Representatives last month approved the recognition.