Arnold Palmer Fast Facts

CNN  — 

Here is a look at the life of legendary golfer Arnold Palmer.


Birth date: September 10, 1929

Death date: September 25, 2016

Birth place: Latrobe, Pennsylvania

Birth name: Arnold Daniel Palmer

Father: Milfred Jerome (Deacon) Palmer, golf club pro

Mother: Doris M. Palmer

Marriages: Kathleen “Kit” (Gawthrop) Palmer (January 26, 2005-September 25, 2016, his death); Winnie (Walzer) Palmer (December 20, 1954-November 20, 1999, her death)

Children: with Winnie Palmer: Amy, 1958; Peggy, 1956

Education: Attended Wake Forest College, 1947-1951 (dropped out senior year)

Military service: US Coast Guard, 1951-1954

Other Facts

Learned to play golf at age three, taught by his father the Latrobe Country Club golf pro.

Winner of over 90 golf tournaments and was the first person to make $1 million playing golf.

Is credited with bringing golf into the mainstream and making it popular with people outside of country clubs.

Palmer’s fans were known as Arnie’s Army and followed him on the weekly PGA Tour events.

Built a financial empire with endorsements and other golf-related ventures, including co-founding the Golf Channel.

Quit Wake Forest and joined the US Coast Guard after his roommate, Bud Worsham, was killed in a car accident.

Proposed to his first wife after knowing her for three days.

Was a licensed jet pilot and flew a Cessna Citation X.


1954 - Wins the United States Golf Association Amateur Championship.

November 1954 - Turns pro and signs a sponsorship contract with Wilson Sporting Goods.

1958, 1960, 1962, 1964 - Wins The Masters.

1960 - Wins the US Open.

1961, 1962 - Wins the British Open.

1971 - Buys the Latrobe Country Club, the same course where he learned to play golf.

1974 - Inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

1980 - Wins the Seniors Championship, his first event on the Seniors Tour.

1981 - Wins the US Seniors Open.

1993 - Presented with the National Sports Award by President Bill Clinton.

1994 - Makes his final appearance at the US Open.

1995 - Makes his final appearance at the British Open.

1996-1997 - Diagnosed and successfully treated for prostate cancer.

1997 - The Palmer Cup is established, a competition showcasing American and European college golfers.

2003 - The Arnold Palmer Prostate Center is established. The center is part of the Eisenhower Lucy Curci Cancer Center within the Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, California.

2004 - Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush.

2004 - Makes his 50th and final appearance at the Masters.

2006 - Plays his last Champions Tour event.

2007 - The Bay Hill Invitational, held at Palmer’s Bay Hill Club, is renamed the Arnold Palmer Invitational. This is the second PGA tour competition to be named after someone; the Byron Nelson championship is the other.

March 25, 2012 - Is hospitalized overnight due to high blood pressure. He is unable to present the winner’s trophy to Tiger Woods after the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

September 12, 2012 - Palmer receives the Congressional Gold Medal that was signed by President Barack Obama in 2009 in a ceremony at the US Capitol. Jack Nicklaus attends the ceremony. Palmer is the sixth sportsman to receive the award.

September 25, 2016 - Passes away at the age of 87.