NEW YORK:  Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest and certainly the most influential of golfers, has died aged 87.

Palmer died at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he was undergoing heart tests. The United States Golf Association called calling him “golf’s greatest ambassador”.

During a long career he won more than 90 tournaments worldwide, including seven majors.

Palmer, who promoted the game into the television age, was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, in 1929, the son of a groundskeeper at the local country club who later became the professional at the golf club there.

He was one of golf’s most dominant players in the late 1950s and early 1960s, winning seven major titles over seven seasons and 62 USPGA Tour wins.

Fellow golfing great Jack Nicklaus led the tributes, saying: “We just lost one of the incredible people in the game of golf and in all of sports.

“Arnold transcended the game of golf. He was more than a golfer or even great golfer. He was an icon. He was a legend.”

US President Barack Obama tweeted a picture of himself with Palmer at the White House, adding: “Here’s to The King who was as extraordinary on the links as he was generous to others. Thanks for the memories, Arnold.”