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Golfers Profile: Arnold Palmer

The Life and Career of Golf Legend Arnold Palmer 

Arnold Palmer is a name that all golf fans remember fondly. 

Palmer, who died in 2016, was an American golfer who won over the world with his impressive shots, charming smile, and endearing personality. He is widely regarded as one of the best golfers of all time. And the most charming golfer to ever step foot on the green. 

Arnold Palmer played golf professionally for over 60 years and, in that time, won 62 PGA tour titles. He sits 6th on the records list. 

Today, we will take a closer look at the life and career of this all-time great. 

Life Before Golf 

Arnold Palmer was born in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, a town famous for its steel production at the time. 

He learned how to play golf from his father, Milfred Jerome “Deacon” Palmer. His father had been very talented but had Polio at a young age and could never go pro. He did, however, have a job as the resident professional and head groundskeeper at the local golf club – Latrobe Country Club. 

The owners of the club allowed Arnold to play alongside his father. His father would walk around the course doing maintenance work, and Arnold would practice his shots as he did. 

Palmer earned himself a gold scholarship at Wake Forest College. However, after the death of his friend Bud Worsham Palmer left and enlisted with the Coast Guard for three years. 

While with the coast guard, he built a nine-hole course at their base for him and the other recruits to play on. After he had finished his service, he returned to college and decided to start competing in golf again. 

Palmer returned to college and got a job selling paint to make ends meet. 

After leaving the Coast Guard, he played in the U.S Amature in 1954, held in Detroit that year. He won it. When asked about that tournament, Palmer said, “That victory was the turning point in my life. It gave me the confidence I could compete at the game’s highest level.

After that victory, he quit his job and signed up for the Waite Memorial tournament. This was another life-changing tournament for Palmer as it was here that he met his wife – Winifred Walzer – the pair we married for 45 years until she passed away. 

After her death, Palmer built a hospital for Women and Babies in Florida, where he spent most of his Summers. This is the hospital where all of Tiger Wood’s children were born. 

Palmer has a grandson, Sam Saunders, a professional golfer. 

The 62 Titles 

Palmer won 62 PGA tour titles – 55 of these were on tour, and 7 of them were Majors. He won over 30 other tournaments worldwide, and he won 10 Senior PGA tour titles. 

PGA Tour Titles (55) 

The first PGA title that Palmer won was the Canadian Open – at the time, it had a prize purse of $2,300. He won this title in August of May 1955. 

His next victory came at the Insurance City Open in 1956. That month he also won the Eastern Open. 

Next year, he won four Opens – Houston Open, Azalea Open, Rubber City Open Invitational, and San Diego Open Invitational. 

In 1958, he won his first Major, but he also won two other tournaments. He won three in 1959 and six in 1960 – including his second victory at the Insurance City Open. 

In the 1960s, he won 30 Minor PGA tour titles. He won six tour titles in the 1970s. In the 1980s, Palmer started to play in more international tournaments but did not see the same success that he had in the previous decades. 

During the 1960s, he won 11 tournaments in Latin America. 

The Majors 

Palmer won 7 Major tournaments during his professional career, and he won 5 Major tournaments on the senior circuit. 

Palmer won the Masters Tournament four times – 1958, 1960, 1962, and 1964. Palmer is part of a very small group of people who have won the tournament more than once, and only Jack Nicklaus has won it more times than him.

You can find the best golf betting odds on this year’s Masters here. 

Palmer won the Open Championship twice – 1961 and 1962. Nicklaus and Palmer had a heated rivalry for many years at the Open – although Palmer only won 2 and Nicklaus won 3, they both were runners-up multiple times. 

Finally, Palmer also won the U.S Open once in 1960. It was a hard thought battle between Palmer and his rival Nicklaus. In the end, Palmer won with a score of 4 under par with a victory over Nicklaus of strokes. 

Arnold Palmer
Image by kerut from Pixabay


On September 25, 2016, Palmer passed away at the age of 85. 

After he died, many other golfers spoke out about their sadness. Tiger Woods described it as a great loss for the world of golf. The Ryder Cup took place a week after his death, and both teams gave tribute to him. 

Featured image by inkknife_2000, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons