Arnold Daniel Palmer

Arnold Palmer

Personal Information
Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Residence Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Orlando, Florida
College Wake Forest University
Turned Pro 1954
Tours PGA Tour (joined 1955)
Champions Tour (joined 1980)
Professional wins (94)
PGA Tour 62 (5th all time)
Champions Tour 10
Other 17 (Regular)
5 (Senior)
Best Results in Major Championships
Wins: 7
Masters Won 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964
U.S. Open Won 1960
British Open Won 1961, 1962
PGA Championship T2: 1964, 1968, 1970
PGA Tour
Money Winner
1958, 1960, 1962, 1963
Player of the Year
1960, 1962
Vardon Trophy 1961, 1962, 1964, 1967
Old Tom Morris Award 1983

Arnold Daniel Palmer (born September 10, 1929) is an American golfer who is generally regarded as one of the greatest players in the history of men's professional golf. He has won numerous events on both the PGA Tour and Champions Tour, dating back to 1955. Nicknamed "The King," he is one of golf's most popular stars and its most important trailblazer because he was the first star of the sport's television age, which began in the 1950s.

Palmer won the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award in 1998, and in 1974 was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Career outline

Palmer was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He learned golf from his father Deacon Palmer, who was head professional and greens keeper at Latrobe Country Club, allowing young Arnold to accompany his father as he maintained the course. At age seven, Palmer broke 70 at Bent Creek Country Club. As a youngster, Palmer was only allowed on the Latrobe course (it was just nine holes then) in early morning or late afternoon, when the members weren't playing. He attended Wake Forest University, on a golf scholarship. He left upon the death of close friend Bud Worsham, and enlisted in the Coast Guard, where he served for three years and had some time to continue to hone his golf skills. Palmer gathered himself, and returned to competitive golf. His win in the 1954 U.S. Amateur Championship made him decide to try the pro tour for a while, and he and new bride Winifred Walzer (whom he had met at a Pennsylvania tournament) traveled the circuit for 1955. Palmer won the 1955 Canadian Open in his rookie season, and raised his game systematically for the next several seasons. With the help of his unfailing personality and lucrative business ventures, Arnold Palmer has almost single-handedly brought golf out of the elite country clubs and into the consciousness of mainstream America.

Palmer's charisma was a major factor in establishing golf as a compelling television event in the 1950s and 1960s, setting the stage for the popularity it enjoys today. His first major championship win at the 1958 Masters cemented his position as one of the leading stars in golf, and by 1960 he had signed up as pioneering sports agent Mark McCormack's first client. In later interviews, McCormack listed five attributes that made Palmer especially marketable: his good looks; his relatively modest background (his father was a greenkeeper before rising to be club professional and Latrobe was a humble club); the way he played golf, taking risks and wearing his emotions on his sleeve; his involvement in a string of exciting finishes in early televised tournaments; and his affability.

Palmer is also credited by many for securing the status of The Open Championship (British Open) among US players. Before Palmer, relatively few American professionals attempted to play The Open due to its travel requirements, small prize purses, foreign environment, and the style of its links courses (radically different from most American courses). Palmer's successive Open wins in the early 1960s convinced many American pros that a trip to Britain would be worth the effort. Of course, the advent of transatlantic air travel by jet at about that time also contributed greatly to making The Open a more attractive tournament for American pros.

He has won seven major championships:

Palmer's most prolific years were 1960-1963, when he won 29 PGA Tour events in four seasons. In 1960, he won the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year and Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award. He built up a wide fan base, often referred to as "Arnie's Army", and in 1967 he became the first man to reach one million dollars in career earnings on the PGA Tour. By the late 1960s Jack Nicklaus had acquired clear ascendancy in their rivalry, but Palmer won a PGA Tour event every year up to 1970, and in 1971 he enjoyed a revival, winning four events.

Palmer won the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average four times: 1961, 1962, 1964, and 1967. He played on six Ryder Cup teams: 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1971, and 1973. He was the last playing-captain in 1963 and captained the team again in 1975.

Palmer was eligible for the Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour) from its first season in 1980, and he was one of the marquee names who helped it to become successful. He won ten events on the tour, including five senior majors.

Palmer won the first World Match Play Championship in England, an event which was originally organised by McCormack to showcase his stable of players. Their partnership was one of the most significant in the history of sports marketing. Long after he ceased to win tournaments, Palmer remained one of the highest earners in golf due to his appeal to sponsors and the public.

In 2004, he competed in The Masters for the last time, marking his 50th consecutive appearance in that event. After missing the cut at the 2005 U.S. Senior Open by twenty-one shots he announced that he would not enter any more senior majors. He retired from tournament golf on October 13, 2006, when he withdrew from the Champions Tours' Administaff Small Business Classic after four holes due to dissatisfaction with his own play. He played the remaining holes but did not keep score. Palmer's legacy was reaffirmed by an electrifying moment during the 2004 Bay Hill Invitational. Standing over 200 yards from the water-laden 18th green, Palmer, who is known for his aggressive play, lashed his second shot onto the green with a driver. The shot thrilled his loyal gallery and energized the excitable Palmer. He turned to his grandson and caddie, Sam Saunders, and gave him a prolonged shimmy and playful jeering in celebration of the moment.

Palmer has had a diverse golf related business career including owning "Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Club and Lodge", which is the venue for the PGA Tour's Arnold Palmer Invitational (renamed from the Bay Hill Invitational effective 2007), helping to found The Golf Channel, and negotiating the deal to build the first golf course in the People's Republic of China. This led to the formation of Palmer Course Design in 1972, which was renamed Arnold Palmer Design Company when the company moved to Orlando Florida in 2006. Since 1971 he has owned Latrobe Country Club, where his father used to be the club professional. Palmer's ability to win with boldness and charisma was the single biggest factor in the game's explosive growth after 1960.

In 2000, Palmer was ranked the sixth greatest player of all time in Golf Digest magazine's rankings.

He now resides near his golf course, Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Country Club and Lodge, in Orlando, Florida.

Major Championships

Wins (7)

Year Championship 54 Holes Winning Score Margin Runners Up
1958 The Masters Tied for lead -4 (70-73-68-73=284) 1 stroke Doug Ford, Fred Hawkins
1960 The Masters (2) 1 shot lead -6 (67-73-72-70=282) 1 stroke Ken Venturi
1960 U.S. Open 7 shot deficit -4 (72-71-72-65=280) 2 strokes Jack Nicklaus
1961 The Open Championship 1 shot lead -8 (70-73-69-72=284) 1 stroke Dai Rees
1962 The Masters (3) 2 shot lead -8 (70-66-69-75=280) Playoff 1 Gary Player, Dow Finsterwald
1962 The Open Championship (2) 5 shot lead -12 (71-69-67-69=276) 6 strokes Kel Nagle
1964 The Masters (4) 5 shot lead -12 (69-68-69-70=276) 6 strokes Dave Marr, Jack Nicklaus

1 Defeated Gary Player & Dow Finsterwald in 18-hole playoff - Palmer (68), Player (71), Finsterwald (77)

Results timeline

Tournament 1953 1954 1955 1956 1957 1958 1959
The Masters DNP DNP T10 21 T7 1 3
U.S. Open CUT CUT T21 7 CUT T23 T5
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
PGA Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T40 T14

Tournament 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
The Masters 1 T2 1 T9 1 T2 T4 4 CUT 27
U.S. Open 1 T14 2 2 T5 CUT 2 2 59 T6
The Open Championship 2 1 1 T26 DNP 16 T8 DNP T10 DNP
PGA Championship T7 T5 T17 T40 T2 T33 T6 T14 T2 WD

Tournament 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979
The Masters T36 T18 T33 T24 T11 T13 CUT T24 T37 CUT
U.S. Open T54 T24 3 T4 T5 T9 T50 T19 CUT T59
The Open Championship 12 DNP T7 T14 DNP T16 T55 7 T34 DNP
PGA Championship T2 T18 T16 CUT T28 T33 T15 T19 CUT CUT

Tournament 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989
The Masters T24 CUT 47 T36 CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT
The Open Championship CUT T23 T27 T56 CUT DNP DNP CUT DNP CUT
PGA Championship T72 76 CUT T67 CUT T65 CUT T65 CUT T63

Tournament 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999

Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
The Open Championship DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

DNP = Did not play
WD = Withdrew
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place
Green background for wins. Yellow background for top-10.

Summary of major championship performances

  • Starts - 142
  • Wins - 7
  • 2nd place finishes - 10
  • Top 3 finishes - 19
  • Top 5 finishes - 26
  • Top 10 finishes - 38
  • Longest streak of top-10s in majors - 6

Amateur wins (2)

PGA Tour wins (62)

Major championships are shown in bold.


Other wins (17)

Senior PGA Tour wins (10)

Senior majors are shown in bold.

Other senior wins (5)


  • Palmer is a major contributor to health and wellness, founding both the Arnold Palmer Pavilion at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida. The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children is a world-class medical facility, which was originally known as the "Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Women." In 2006 a new campus was built adjacent to the orginal building, the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies, named after his wife Winnie, creating separate pediatric and obstetrics hospitals.
  • Palmer is a 33° freemason.
  • Palmer is an aircraft pilot and bought the first Cessna Citation X. He set a speed record with that aircraft on a 5000km closed course.
  • Palmer was the first man in golf to win $1 million in career earnings.(see 1963 in the Timeline of Golf History 1945 - 1999)
  • The 1960 Masters Tournament, originally broadcast in black and white and recorded on kinescope was re-broadcast on CBS, Sunday April 8, 2007 one hour before the final round of the 2007 Masters Tournament. The documentary, Jim Nantz Remembers marked the first time a major sports event had been re-broadcast using colorization. It included additional commentary by Arnold Palmer. The broadcast was shown to Arnold Palmer at the Bel-Air Golf Club in February, 2007. It was the first time Arnold had ever seen the broadcast and with the latest and most sophisticated colorization technology of Legend Films, the colorization matched perfectly the color reference material for the entire round. and
  • Palmer's birthday was used in Season 3 of MacGyver (Episode: Lost Love II). Peter Thornton liked golf and had set the passcode to the Mink Dragon exhibit to be Arnold Palmer's birthday, 9-10-29 (using the U.S. date format of month first).
  • Currently, Arnold Palmer is a member at Oakland Hills Country Club, the host of the 2008 PGA Championship.
  • In the spring of 2008 Arnie & Jack was released. The book chronicles the careers and rivalry of Arnold Palmer and longtime friend Jack Nicklaus.
  • Alledgedly, one of Palmer's favorite drinks is a combination of half iced tea and half lemonade, a drink which is often referred to as an "Arnold Palmer" in his honor. It is now available under the name "The Original Arnold Palmer Tee" (sic)
  • In the NBC sitcom Scrubs, J.D. says, not knowing about sports, "Has anyone ever done less to become famous? I mean yay for me, I mixed two drinks together?"

See also


External links

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