Arnold Palmer

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Arnold Palmer helped to popularize televised golf.
Arnold Palmer helped to popularize televised golf.

Arnold Daniel Palmer (born September 10, 1929 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania) is an American golfer who has won numerous events on both the PGA TOUR and Champions Tour, dating back to 1955. Palmer is not generally regarded as the greatest player in history (most would give that accolade to Jack Nicklaus, some to Bobby Jones, and Tiger Woods has challenged them in recent years), but he is arguably the most important in that he was the first golf star when television started to air golf tournaments in the 1950s.


Career outline

Palmer learned golf from his father, who was a golf professional at Latrobe Country Club near Pittsburgh. He attended Wake Forest University from 1947 until 1954, taking time out for service in the United States Coast Guard. He left college without a degree and briefly worked as a salesman but after winning the 1954 U.S. Amateur he turned professional and he won the Canadian Open the following year.

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. He 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, foreign environment, and the style of its 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 tournaments 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 was eligible for the PGA Senior 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 was Mark McCormack's first client. He 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.

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 Bay Hill Invitational, helping to found The Golf Channel, and negotiating the deal to build the first golf course in the People's Republic of China. Since 1971 he has owned Latrobe Country Club, where his father used to be the club professional.

PGA Tour wins

Major championships are shown in bold.

Other regular career wins

Senior PGA Tour wins

Senior majors are shown in bold.

Other senior wins

  • 1984 Doug Sanders Celebrity Pro-Am
  • 1986 Union Mutual Classic
  • 1990 Senior Skins Game
  • 1992 Senior Skins Game
  • 1993 Senior Skins Game


Palmer was one of the founders of The Golf Channel.

One of Palmer's favorite drinks allegedly 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) [1]

See also

External links

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