Designed the Golf Course at: La Manga Club Golf Resort (Modified the South Courses in 1992).
Arnold Daniel Palmer (born September 10, 1929) 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.
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 tragic 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 the masses.
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:
The Masters: 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964
U.S. Open: 1960
The Open Championship: 1961, 1962
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 the 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.
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 Dr. Phillips, Florida.
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