Arnold Palmer Biography

(American Professional Golfer and One of the Greatest and Most Charismatic Players in the Sport’s History)

Birthday: September 10, 1929 (Virgo)

Born In: Latrobe, Pennsylvania, United States

Arnold Palmer turned the status of the game of golf from being a mere game to a compelling sports activity. Fondly nicknamed The King, he was associated with the tremendous golf boom that the sporting activity witnessed in the latter half of the twentieth century that none ever anticipated. One of the greatest players in the history of men’s professional golf, he, with his charismatic looks, not just made the game popular but successfully broke the jinx of golf as being the pastime of the elite and upper class only. He widened the accessibility of the game to the middle and working class, thus establishing a newfound reputation for golf. A trailblazer of the golfing world, he, in his lifetime won 92 tournaments and became the highest earner of the sport. What’s more, even after ceasing to win tournaments, he remained one of the highest earners in golf due to his appeal to sponsors and the public. It was due to his sheer sportsmanship and excellence at playing the games that he became the first golfer ever to be bestowed with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Honor. Even after retirement, Palmer contributed to sports in a big way by turning into an acute businessman and golf course designer.

Quick Facts

Nick Name: The King

Also Known As: Arnold Daniel Palmer

Died At Age: 87


Spouse/Ex-: Kathleen Gawthrop (m. 2005), Winifred Walzer (m. 1954–1999)

father: Milford Palmers,

mother: Doris

children: Amy Palmer, Peggy Palmer

Born Country: United States

Golfers American Men

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males

Died on: September 25, 2016

place of death: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States

U.S. State: Pennsylvania

More Facts

awards: 2004 - Presidential Medal of Freedom
2009 - Congressional Gold Medal
1960 - Sportsman of the Year

Childhood & Early Life

Arnold Palmer was born to Milfred Deacon Palmer in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. His father was a head professional and greenskeeper at Latrobe Country Club.

It was his father who embedded in young Palmer the seed of golf. Picking up the trick of the sport early on, he trained himself at the game like his father.

By the time he turned 17, he had won two state interscholastic championships. It was his excellence in the game that helped him bag a seat at Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship.

The tragic death of his friend led him to drop out of the university in his senior year. He instead drafted himself into the US Coast Guard, thus taking a hiatus of three years both from education and golf.

Relieved from his duties after three years, he resumed college and golf activities. Soon he gained his form and went on to win the 1954 US Amateur title and the Ohio Amateur Championship. It was these wins in amateur tournaments that helped him turn into a pro.

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His professional career started on a good note as he recorded a victory at the 1955 Canadian Open in his rookie season. He continued displaying powerful performances which helped him bag a series of victories.

Though his proficiency at the game earned him a streak of wins, it was his victory at the 1958 Masters Tournament that launched him as a professional golfer earning him much fame and recognition.

In 1969, he became one of the clients of the pioneering sports agent, Mark McCormack. The same year, he won the US Open and yet again recorded a victory at the Masters Tournament.

With an aim to recreate the winning streak of Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, and Sam Snead winning all three in a single year, he headed to Scotland to play at The Open Championship. However, he lost the title by a shot to Kel Nagle. Nevertheless, he earned himself a huge fan base amongst the British and Europeans.

The first three years of the 1960s were the most successful years in his career as he recorded massive victories. He not just won the 29 PGA Tour titles but earned a whopping $400,000 in prize money. Furthermore, he served as a winning captain of the US Ryder Cup.

He recorded back-to-back victories at The Open Championship in 1961 and 1962. Furthermore, he won two more Masters Tournaments titles in 1962 and 1964, taking the total to four titles, the first ever recorded by a golfer.

From 1955 to 1971, he won a PGA Tour event every year. In 1967, he became the first man to eclipse one million dollars in career earnings on the PGA Tour. In 1971, he won four events in a revival series. Four years later, he yet again captained the US Ryder team.

Later in life, i.e. in 1980, he became eligible for the Senior PGA Tour, which is currently known as the Champions Tour. He enjoyed big victories in the Senior Tour, winning ten events on the tour including five senior majors.

He recorded a victory at the first World Match Play Championship in England. In 2004, he competed in the Masters Tournament, thus making his 50th consecutive and last appearance at the tournament.

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It was in the 2005 U.S. Senior Open that he announced his retirement from senior majors. He officially retired from tournament golf on October 13, 2006. In his overall career, he recorded 92 titles, with seven major championships including four Masters, two British Opens, and one US Open.

Other than sports, he had great acumen for business as well and enjoys a diverse golf-related business career. He was the owner of the Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Arnold Palmer Invitational, and the Latrobe Country Club, where his father used to be a club professional.

Furthermore, he helped found The Golf Channel and built the first golf course in the People's Republic of China. He even founded a beverage, Arnold Palmer, which combines iced sweet tea with lemonade.

Awards & Achievements

In 1974, he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

In 1998, he was presented with the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award

In 2000, he was ranked as the sixth greatest player of all time in the Golf Digest magazine.

He was conferred with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2004. Five years later, he was bestowed the Congressional Gold Medal.

Since 2007, he had been the honorary starter of the Masters Tournament and for three years from 2007 to 2009, he was the sole honorary starter.

Personal Life & Legacy

He tied the nuptial knot with Winnie Palmer. The couple stayed together for 45 years until her death in 1999 due to complications arising out of ovarian cancer.

In 2005, he married Kathleen Gawthrop.

His grandson, Sam Saunders is a professional golfer

Other than golfing and business, he was a passionate pilot for 50 years. In January 2011, he took his last ride as a pilot.

He died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 2016, at the age of 87.

He died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on September 25, 2016, at the age of 87.


Nicknamed The King, he not only is the youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament but also is the first golfer to win the Masters four times.

See the events in life of Arnold Palmer in Chronological Order

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