Just after day break, at 7:30 a.m., cheers hit the air the very moment Arnold Palmer emerged from the clubhouse to take the shortest walk in golf towards the first tee. Palmer hit a beautiful shot into the fairway and Nicklaus followed suit. An intense four days of competition at Augusta National ensued with 26-year-old South African Charl Schwartzel taking the green jacket on Sunday by two strokes.
"Augusta and this golf tournament has been about (as much) a part of my life as anything other than my family," Palmer said.
Naturally, most students of Mr. Palmer's fabled career will focus on his four Masters wins – in 1958. 1960. 1962 and 1964.
In 1958, the king stumbled to a closing 73, one over par, but still went over the winning line by one shot from defending champion Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins. Two years later, he had a similarly slim margin over Ken Venturi and in 1962 he beat both Gary Player and Dow Finsterwald in a playoff.
In 1964, though, it was an entirely different story as the King ran out a rampant six–shot winner over Dave Marr and Jack Nicklaus.
"I am first very pleased to be a member of this club and to have the opportunities that the Masters has presented for me. Hopefully, every person who eventually plays here understands what it means and how I feel about it, and I suppose the effect it has had in my life." said Palmer.