Arnold Palmer Profile
|Short Name||The King|
|Born||Sep 10, 1929|
|Birthplace||Latrobe, Pennsylvania, United States|
Arnold Palmer was a superb golfer, winning no less than seven Majors, but in truth it was his unrivaled spirit that set him apart, leaving a profound legacy and changing the sport forever.
Arnold Palmer is widely considered to be one of golf's greatest-ever players.
Having turned professional in 1954, he was one of three players who dominated golf during the 1960s. The other two were Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player, and collectively they were known as the "Big Three".
Palmer has been credited with changing perceptions of golf because, prior to his rise to prominence, it had largely been viewed as an elitist pastime.
Palmer, in contrast, came from humble beginnings and was able to write his name in the history books, winning seven Major Championships and also picking up 62 wins on the PGA Tour.
In total, the swashbuckling Palmer racked up 95 professional wins around the world in his 52-year career and his enthusiasm for venturing beyond America is not to be under-estimated - it would be fair to say that he first maintained the relevance of the British Open and then helped prompt its revival.
He won four Masters titles, two British Opens and one US Open. The only Major he never won was the PGA Championship, with his best finish being joint-second place in 1964, 1968 and 1970.
Palmer passed away at the age of 87 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 2016, five days before the start of the Ryder Cup. Players from both the US and European teams paid tribute to the player nicknamed 'The King' by wearing special logos, buttons and pins.
PGA of America president Derek Sprague also paid tribute to Palmer directly, saying: "The game has never known a more enthusiastic sportsman than Arnold Palmer. So it is fitting that we pay tribute to Mr. Palmer during the 41st Ryder Cup, to celebrate it in a very special way, the life of an unforgettable champion and gracious ambassador of the game."
Palmer won the 1954 US Amateur in Detroit, fresh off the back of three years serving in the US Coast Guard.
Altogether, Palmer picked up 26 wins in an amateur career spanning from 1946 to 1954, with the US Amateur his only major title.
Palmer attended Wake Forest College on a golf scholarship. In 2006, he was 25th on the NCAA's '100 Most Influential Student-Athletes' list.
Palmer announced his intention to join the paid ranks in late 1954 and proved early on in his career that he belonged among golf's elite. He won his first professional title at the 1955 Canadian Open, earning $2,400, and secured seven more wins ahead of the 1958 Masters.
The Major era
The 1958 Masters was Palmer's first Major Championship title. He made a significant move with a third round 68 to tie the lead and held on for victory in tough conditions on the final day.
1960 was a particularly successful year for Palmer as he won the Masters once again and also lifted the US Open, beating Jack Nicklaus by two shots to the latter title.
Palmer picked up the Hickok Belt as the calendar year's top professional athlete and also bagged Sports Illustrated magazine's 'Sportsman of the Year' award, accolades which reveal how he was quickly transcending his own sport and becoming a household name.
The next two years witnessed more Major success for Palmer as he won the 1961 British Open and successfully defended it after winning the 1962 Masters.
Palmer's final Major Championship triumph came in 1964, when he won the Masters for a fourth time. His 12-under-par 276 saw him destroy the field, second-placed Dave Marr and Nicklaus were six shots back of him.
Although further success at the highest level did not follow, he continued to be a regular finisher in the top ten at the Majors throughout the 1960s and his last such result was at the 1977 British Open.
He enjoyed a final hurrah on the PGA Tour with four wins in the 1971 season before his final win in America two years later. In 1975 he added a pair of victories on the regular European Tour and he was a ten-time winner on the Champions Tour in the 1980s.
Palmer not only popularized gold, he also made it cool.
He was perhaps fortunate that his rise coincided with the emergence of color television, but he took full advantage.
His charisma drew huge galleries and his fans were known as 'Arnie's Army'. They adored his smile and his attacking style of play.
Off the course Palmer and his manager Mark MacCormack, pioneered a new way for golfers to make money with endorsements, course design and more.
Palmer even has a drink named after him - the Arnold Palmer which mixes ice tea and lemonade.
Arnold Palmer's personal life
Arnold Palmer married Winifred Walzer in 1954 and the marriage lasted until her death in 1999. In 2005, Palmer married Kathleen Gawthrop.
Palmer had two daughters and his grandson, Sam Saunders, is a professional golfer too, now a regular on the PGA Tour.
Like many American golfers, Palmer was a Republican. He donated to Pat Toomey, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and George W. Bush, but declined invitations to run for political office.
Palmer did manage to secure his pilot certificate, having reportedly been pushed by his fear of flying at an early age.
Westmoreland County Airport in Latrobe was renamed Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in his honor in 1999 to mark the occasion of his 70th birthday.
Palmer wrote several books throughout the course of his life, with Jack Nicklaus writing the foreword to 'A Life Well Played: My Stories.'
Arnold Palmer's net worth
Forbes estimated that Palmer raked in $1.3billion from golf and business interests combined. In 2016, the year in which Palmer passed away, The King's net worth was estimated at $875million.
Palmer starred in commercials for Hertz rental cars and blood thinner Xarelto.
The New York Times wrote shortly after Palmer passed away that he was a pioneer for the age of the modern entrepreneurial athlete because of his many deals. It is reported that he endorsed close to 50 products and services.
"He was the pioneer," Bob Williams, chief executive of Burns Entertainment & Sports Marketing, was quoted as saying by the Times. "He was the first celebrity in the sports world to have a marketing agent."