Arnold Palmer... A Biography
Arnold Palmer is many things to many people...world famous golf immortal and sportsman, highly-successful business executive, prominent advertising spokesman, skilled aviator, talented golf course designer and consultant, devoted family patriarch and a man with a down-to-earth common touch that has made him one of the most popular and accessible public figures in history.
His popularity and success grew with the tremendous golf boom in the latter half of the 20th Century to heights few ever anticipated and they have been recognized in countless ways over the years. Certainly each contributed to the other, a fact given recognition when he was named "Athlete of the Decade" for the 1960s in a national Associated Press poll. Before, during and after that great decade, the famous golfer amassed 92 championships in professional competition of national or international stature. Sixty-two of the victories came on the U.S. PGA Tour, starting with the 1955 Canadian Open.
Besides the magnificent performance record, his magnetic personality and unfailing sense of kindness and thoughtfulness to everybody with whom he comes in contact have endeared him to millions throughout the world and led to the informal formation of the largest non-uniformed "military" organization in existence -- Arnie's Army. Seven of his victories came in what the golfing world considers the four major professional championships. He won the Masters Tournament four times, in 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964; the U.S. Open in spectacular fashion in 1960 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver and the British Open in 1961 and 1962. He came from seven strokes off the pace in the final round in that U.S. Open win and finished second in four other Opens after that. Among the majors, only the PGA Championship eluded him. He finished second in the PGA three times.
Arnie's springboard to professional fame and fortune was his victory in the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1954. He turned professional a few months later. His hottest period was a four-year stretch from 1960 to 1963 when he landed 29 of his titles and collected almost $400,000 at a time when the purses were minute by today's standards. He was the leading money-winner in three of those years and twice represented the U.S. in the prestigious Ryder Cup Match during that time, serving in 1963 as the victorious captain.
It was also during this period that his rapidly-growing business interests got their start, through the impetus of Palmer himself and with the guidance and efforts of his business manager, the late Mark McCormack, and his wide-ranging organization. Arnold is president of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, a multi-division structure encompassing much of his global commercial activity. He has been involved in automobile and aviation service firms over the years and still is the principal owner of a car dealership in his Latrobe (PA) hometown.
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