NEW YORK (WFAN) — Broadcaster Jim Nantz called into Mike Francesa’s WFAN show on Monday to talk about his friendship with and the legacy of Arnold Palmer, who died Sunday at age 87 due to heart complications.

“I was truly blessed to have an unbelievable friendship with Arnold, but let me make it very clear, there are thousands of people that feel the same way,” the CBS play-by-play announcer said. “Arnold had so many friends. He let so many people into his universe.”

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Nantz said Palmer was scheduled to have a heart valve replaced Monday.

“There was all this optimism and excitement that they might have finally gotten to the point where Arnie was going to be renewed,” Nantz said.

“And I think he missed out on that operation by about 12 hours.”

Nantz said Palmer became a superstar because the timing of his golf excellence matched up with television beginning to broadcast the sport.

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“And he became this matinee idol,” Nantz said. “He was a huge star. He came along at just the right sport. He popularized the sport more than anyone in the history of the game.”

To listen to the full interview with Nantz, click on the audio player above.


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