Arnold Palmer timeline
September 25, 2016
By Staff, PGATOUR.COM
- September 25, 2016
- Arnold Palmer won the first of his 62 PGA TOUR events at the Canadian Open in 1955. (Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Born in Labrobe, Pa., to Milfred and Dorris Palmer.
His father gives him his first self of golf clubs.
At age 9, regularly plays with the older caddies on Latrobe Country Club’s nine-hole course.
Becomes a caddie at age 11 at Latrobe Country Club.
Plays in his first official tournament, at Shannopin Country Club.
Enters Wake Forest University as a freshman.
Makes his first PGA TOUR start—as an amateur. Misses the cut at the Greater Greensboro Open after shooting rounds of 78-76.
Makes his first PGA TOUR cut, finishing 54th at the Dapper Dan Open in Pittsburgh while still an amateur.
Joins the U.S. Coast Guard.Arnold Palmer served in the Coast Guard for three years.
The Palmers purchase their first home, in Latrobe, Pa.
Plays in his first major championship, missing the cut at the U.S. Open.
Wins the 1954 U.S. Amateur at the Country Club of Detroit, earning invitations to the following year’s Masters Tournament and U.S. Open.
Turns pro and signs an endorsement deal with Wilson Sporting Goods.
Married Winifred Walzer.
Plays in his first major championship. At the Masters Tournament, ties for 10th.
Wins his first professional and first PGA TOUR title, the Canadian Open in Toronto, defeating Jack Burke, Jr. by four strokes.
The Palmers welcome their first daughter, Peggy to the family.
Wins multiple titles for the first time in his career—at the Insurance City Open and the Eastern Open.
Captures his first, non-PGA TOUR international title when he travels to Latin America and wins the Panama Open and the Colombia Open.
Wins his first Masters Tournament—and his first major championship—edging Doug Ford by a stroke.
Gets into his first playoff, against Howie Johnson, at the Azalea Open, an overtime Johnson wins. Goes on to record an overall 14-10 PGA TOUR playoff mark.
The Palmers’ second daughter, Amy, is born.
Leads the money list for the first time ($42,608).
Shoots his lowest PGA TOUR 18-hole round, a final-round 62 to storm past Jimmy Demaret and Ken Venturi for the Thunderbird Invitational title.
Signs to have pioneering sports agent Mark McCormack represent him.
Appears on episodes of “Masquerade” and “The Perry Como Show” and appears on the cover of Time as a player who is “boldly ushering in” a new era of golf.
Incorporates Arnold Palmer Enterprises.
Wins both the Masters and the U.S. Open—and six other PGA TOUR events—and goes on to win the Hickok Belt as the top professional athlete of the year.
Sports Illustrated names him its Sportsman of the Year. Named as the Dapper Dan Man of Year in Pittsburgh, Pa.
In Memoriam: Arnold Palmer
Joins Sam Snead in winning the Canada Cup later renamed the World Cup.
Wins the Baton Rouge Open for a second consecutive year, capturing both tournaments by seven strokes.
Appears poised to successfully defend his Masters Tournament title but a double bogey on Augusta National’s closing hole Sunday leaves him a stroke behind Gary Player.
Wins The Open Championship for the first time, beating Great Britain’s Dai Rees at Royal Birkdale.
Represents the U.S. for the first time in the Ryder Cup and records a 3-0-1 record in his four matches.
Wins the Masters Tournament for a second time in three years.
Loses an 18-hole playoff against Jack Nicklaus at the U.S. Open.
Successfully defends his Open Championship, winning by six strokes at Royal Troon. His 276 is the lowest 72-hole score in the history of the event.
Leads the TOUR in earnings for a fourth time and captures seven tournament titles but suffers playoff disappointment at the U.S. Open for a second consecutive year, losing to Julius Boros in the 18-hole overtime.
Captains the U.S. Ryder Cup team for the first of two terms, the Americans routing Great Britain, 23-9.
Joins Jack Nicklaus for the first time in representing the U.S. at the World Cup, with the duo winning the first of three Cups together.
Wins his fourth and final Masters Tournament, cementing his position as one of the greatest to ever play in the event. Defeats Jack Nicklaus and Dave Marr by six shots.
Wins the inaugural Piccadilly World Match Play Championship at Wentworth Club in England, defeating Great Britain’s Neil Coles, 2 and 1.
Plays an exhibition against Jack Nicklaus at a golf course in Orlando, Fla. He loves the place and later purchases the course and renames it the Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
Calls two penalties on himself at the PGA Championship at Laurel Valley Golf Club near his home. In the first round, he allows two marshals to remove a bridge railing that interferes with his swing. In the second round, he calls a penalty on himself after he knocks a rock out of the way with his backswing during a practice stroke.
Suffers through one of his most disappointing losses, leading Billy Casper by seven shots with nine holes to play in the final round of the U.S. Open at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. He goes on to lose an 18-hole playoff to Casper the following day.
Finishes construction on the first course he designed, Indian Lake Golf Course, in Central City, Pa.
Opens the first Arnold Palmer’s Indoor Golf School in Park Ridge, Ill.
Plays in his final World Cup, representing the U.S. Joins partner Jack Nicklaus to win the team title by 13 strokes and wins the International Trophy that goes to the player with the low medal score.
Is mentioned in Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” cartoon for the first time.
Becomes the first TOUR player to earn $1 million in his career.
Breaks the Latrobe Country Club course record he set when he shoots a 12-under 60—a round that includes three eagles and two bogeys.
Named the Associated Press’ Athlete of the Decade for the 1960s.
Earns the William D. Richardson Award from the Golf Writers Association of America.
Awarded an honorary LL.D. (doctorate of laws) from Wake Forest University.
Hosts “The Tonight Show” as a replacement for vacationing Johnny Carson. He interviews tennis’ Rod Laver and U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew.
Teams with Jack Nicklaus to win the National Four-Ball, defeating the teams of George Archer-Bobby Nichols, Gardner Dickinson-Sam Snead and Bruce Crampton-Orville Moody by three strokes.
Wins the USGA’s Bob Jones Award.
Becomes president and majority owner of the Latrobe Country Club when he buys his share from the Latrobe Steel Co.
Is inducted into the Wake Forest Sports Hall of Fame during a halftime ceremony of the Wake-Forest-Miami football game.
Sees his streak of 12 consecutive Ryder Cup match victories come to an end when Peter Oosterhuis beats him in singles, 3 and 2, at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis.
Teams with Jack Nicklaus to successfully defend the duo’s National Four-Ball Championship by six shots.
Forms Palmer Course Design after selling Arnold Palmer Golf Co. to Professional Golf Company for $3.4 million.
Wins his final PGA TOUR event, the Bob Hope Desert Classic, beating Johnny Miller by two strokes.
Smokes his final cigarette during a party at the Bay Hill Club, ending a two-and-a-half-pack-a-day habit that began at age 16.
Inducted into the first class of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Captains the U.S. team at the Ryder Cup for a second time. Watches his team defeat Great Britain-Ireland, 21-11.
Wins a pair of European titles, taking Spanish Open and the British PGA Championship.
The Golf Writers Association of America honors him with the Charlie Bartlett Award, given to a player with a commitment to charitable giving.
Pilots his Learjet 36, the Yankee 200, named for America’s bicentennial, on an around-the-world flight with fellow aviators Bill Purkey and Jim Bir. They begin in Denver and fly for 57 hours, 25 minutes and 42 seconds, with refueling stops in Boston, Wales, France, Iran, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Philippines, Wake Island and Honolulu, establishing a world record. During the stop in Sri Lanka, he rides an elephant as part of his welcoming parade.
Finishes the year without recording a top-10 finish for the first time since turning pro. Best finish is a tie for 15th at the PGA Championship.
In his first official act as a private citizen, U.S. President Gerald Ford flies to Pebble Beach to serve as Palmer’s amateur partner at the Bing Crosby Pro-Am.
On invitation from the Atlantic Fleet, he assists in landing a Navy fighter jet on the flight deck of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower. He calls it one of his greatest aviation thrills.
Opens his PGA TOUR season with a fifth-place performance at the Phoenix Open.
Receives the Herb Graffis Award from the National Golf Foundation for exemplary contributions in player development and growth of the game.
Enters the PGA of America Hall of Fame.
At age 50, two-putts from 20 feet to win the Labatt’s International Golf Classic, making his first triumph since the 1975 British PGA Championship.
Wins the first of 10 Champions Tour titles, capturing the PGA Seniors’ Championship. Half of his wins after turning 50 are in Champions Tour majors.
The Palmers become grandparents for the first time when Emily is born.
Wins the U.S. Senior Open at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan for his first Champions Tour major title. Becomes the first player to claim both a U.S. Open and a U.S. Senior Open.
Shoots a final-round 67 to win the Denver Post Champions of Golf in Colorado.
Constructs China’s first golf course, the Chung Shan Hot Springs in Zhongshan.
Wins the Senior Tournament Players Championship at Canterbury Golf Club near Cleveland by 11 strokes, establishing an all-time Champions Tour record for largest margin of victory. It’s a record that stands for 12 years until Hale Irwin breaks it by one shot at the PGA Seniors’ Championship.
The Palmers break ground on what will become Orlando’s Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
At the Chrysler Cup team event outside Washington, D.C., he aces the 182-yard third hole at TPC Avenel during the pro-am. The next day, he makes another hole-in-one moments after a TV crew said to him, “We’re here to film you getting a hole-in-one.”
Makes a birdie putt worth $60,000 on the third playoff hole that elevates him to victory at the Senior Skins Game.
Wins his final Champions Tour title, the Crestar Classic, at Hermitage Country Club in Richmond, Va.
Plays in the U.S. Senior Open at Laurel Valley Golf Club not far from his Latrobe, Pa. home. Ties for 56th.
Makes five consecutive first-round birdies at the PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes in Illinois. He goes on to make the cut.
The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, featuring 255 beds, opens in Orlando.
Completes design on his first Australian course—The Pines on the Gold Coast.
Addresses the U.S. Congress on the occasion of the 100th birthday of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Makes his second-to-last PGA TOUR cut, at the Nestle Invitational at his Bay Hill Club and Lodge. In the rain-shortened event, he shoots rounds of 72-71-70 to tie for 24th.
Establishes a major annual fundraiser, with benefits going to the Latrobe Area Hospital in his native Pennsylvania.
Cards the 16th hole-in-one of his career, and last in competition, in the opening round of the GTE Northwest Classic.
Makes his final PGA TOUR cut, at the Nestle Invitational on his home course in Orlando. Ties for 71st.
The White House and President Bill Clinton honor him with the National Sports Award.
Not far from his home, plays in his final U.S. Open, missing the cut at Oakmont Country Club.
Plays in his final PGA Championship, the only major he never wins. He misses the cut at Tulsa’s Southern Hills Country Club.
At St. Andrews’ Old Course, plays in his final Open Championship and misses the cut.
He captains the U.S. Presidents Cup team and leads the American contingent to victory.
Undergoes successful surgery for prostate cancer.
The PGA TOUR bestows its Lifetime Achievement Award on him.
Co-authors his autobiography, A Golfer's Life, with James Dodson.
Winnie dies after a battle with cancer.
By playing in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in January, he records the distinction of having played in PGA TOUR events in seven decades, going back to his first PGA TOUR start in 1948 (Greater Greensboro Open). Misses the cut in Palm Springs.
Reaches a milestone in July when he plays in his 1,000th combined PGA TOUR and Champions Tour event.
Betters his age for the first time when he fires a 3-under-par 69 in the second round of the FleetBoston Classic.
Shoots his age (71) in the fourth round of Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Becomes the first player in his 70s to shoot his age or better on TOUR since 77-year-old Jerry Barber fired a 71 in the second round of 1994 Buick Invitational.
As captain, guides the U.S. team to a title in the inaugural UBS Cup against a European team
Captains the U.S. team to victory for the second consecutive year in the UBS Cup at Sea Island, Ga.
Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President George W. Bush.
Plays in his 50th and final Masters Tournament.
Captains the U.S. team for a final time at the UBS Cup.
Marries Kathleen “Kit” Gawthrop in Hawaii.
Doesn’t play in a PGA TOUR event for the first time in his career.
Partners with long-time design colleague Ed Seay to form the Arnold Palmer Design Company.
Plays his final round of competitive golf at the Champion Tour's Administaff Small Business Classic outside Houston. Withdraws after four holes but completes the round as a thank you to the fans in attendance. Announces post-round that “there's just no thoughts of any more tournament golf.”
The long-time PGA TOUR event held at his Bay Hill Club and Lodge is renamed the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Begins serving as the Masters Tournament’s Honorary Starter. Augusta National Golf Club invited Jack Nicklaus to join him in 2010, with Gary Player joining the group in 2012. Every year, “The Big Three” hits ceremonial tee shots that begin each tournament.
U.S. President Barack Obama awards him the Congressional Golf Medal.
Throws out the first pitch at a Pittsburgh Pirates’ game.
The Arnold Palmer Medical Center in Orlando, Fla., is named the PGA TOUR Charity of the Year.
Teams with Gary Player and Nicklaus at The Olde Farm GC in Virginia in The Big 3 for Mountain Mission Kids sponsored by Johnson & Johnson. The 19-hole scramble event, benefiting the Mountain Mission School, raises more than $15.1 million, the most-ever by a golf tournament in a single day.
Dies the evening of Sunday, September 25, at age 87.