Bill Awards Congressional Gold Medal to Golfing Legend, Awaits President’s Signature into Law
Washington, DC — Today, the U.S. Senate passed legislation introduced by Congressman Joe Baca (D-Rialto) that awards the Congressional Gold Medal to world famous golf professional Arnold Palmer. The Arnold Palmer Gold Medal Act, H.R. 1243, officially recognizes Palmer for his service to the nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf. The legislation first passed the House of Representatives this past April, and was unanimously passed by the Senate earlier today.
"Arnold Palmer is a legend and a giant among golfers," said Rep. Baca. "Arnold elevated the game of golf both at home and abroad, and is respected across the globe. He won 92 championships in professional competition, but even more significant, he is an exemplary American who always gave back to others."
"Arnold Palmer served his country with distinction in the U.S. Coast Guard, and has spent countless hours dedicated to improving the lives of others," continued Rep. Baca. "He and his beloved wife Winnie did amazing work for numerous charities, including the March of Dimes, children's hospitals, and prostate cancer research. Arnold is a humble man who loved his children and family, and never forgot where he came from. I thank my colleagues in the Senate for honoring a legend who has given so much, and I urge the President to quickly sign this recognition into law."
Arnold Palmer's magnetic personality and unfailing sense of kindness and thoughtfulness have endeared him to millions throughout the world. He has been the recipient of countless 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. He was chosen as the Athlete of the Decade for the 1960s in a national Associated Press poll. In addition, Arnold Palmer spoke before a joint session of Congress in March of 1990, in commemoration of the 100th birthday of President Dwight Eisenhower.
Through his charitable foundation, Arnold Palmer and his wife Winnie have supported numerous philanthropic causes, including the March of Dimes, nature conservation, cancer prevention, and women's and children's health. He has also founded both the Arnold Palmer Pavilion at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida.
"I have had the opportunity to play a round of golf with Arnold Palmer," added Rep. Baca. "My son, Rialto City Councilman Joe Baca, Jr., was also in attendance. Walking those eighteen holes with Arnold Palmer was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Not only is he a golf legend, but he also is a genuine person with a great sense of humor."
"I truly believe that Arnold Palmer is deserving of this honor, and it is fitting the Senate passed this legislation on the eve of his 80th birthday," continued Rep. Baca. "But it's not just about his success on the links. Arnold also has contributed significantly to American society and culture and is an outstanding role model, especially for young people."
Congressman Baca currently serves as a Member of the House Professional Sports Caucus, and Chair of the Caucus' Golf Committee.