It’s very hard to narrow down Arnold Palmer‘s greatest moments into a top-five list. There have simply been so many highlights from the American’s trophy-laden career.
Seven Major titles, more than 90 professional wins and a Ryder Cup record that would be the envy of most, the late and great Palmer will go down as one of the best players to grace the game.
Here are five of the best moments from his long and glittering career.
5. Palmer breezes to record fourth Masters title
Palmer, at the age of 34, made history at the 1964 Masters by becoming the first player to win four Green Jackets.
The victory, which turned out to be his seventh and last Major title, was never in doubt.
Joint-leader after round one on three under, Palmer pulled away from the pack to win by six shots (-12) from Dave Marr and Jack Nicklaus.
He became the first four-time winner of the Masters. His record would later be equalled by Nicklaus (1972) and Tiger Woods (2005), with Nicklaus winning record fifth (1975) and sixth (1986) titles later on.
4. An Open Championship supporter
The Open Championship owes a lot to Palmer. Many believe his efforts to travel across the Atlantic to compete in the Open in the 1960s, at a time when few Americans entered the tournament because of travel, small prize money and the difficulty of British links courses, helped boost the status of the Open among US players.
Palmer failed to emulate Ben Hogan’s 1953 triple Grand Slam (Masters, US Open and The Open) in 1960, but would land his maiden Open crown the following year at Royal Birkdale.
Palmer beat the field and the horrific weather to claim victory one stroke ahead of Wales’ Dai Rees.
Back-to-back Open Championships followed in 1962, this time at Royal Troon.
Palmer finished six shots ahead of Australia’s Kel Nagle.
3. The King lands first Green Jacket
Palmer’s first Major title in 1958 was not without its fair share of drama.
He shared the lead with Sam Snead heading into the final round. However, Snead fell away, leaving Palmer to battle it out with playing partner Ken Venturi.
On the 12th hole, a controversial moment occurred when Palmer thought his tee ball was embedded behind the green but the rules official would not give him relief.
Playing that ball as it lay, Palmer made a double-bogey. Upset over the questionable ruling, Palmer played a provisional second ball from behind the green and, after taking relief, made a par. Several holes later tournament officials ruled that Palmer was entitled to relief and his par score on 12 would stand.
On the next hole Palmer would make a decisive eagle on the par-5th 13th. He would go on to win by one stroke ahead of Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins.
2. A Ryder Cup legend
Palmer has a Ryder Cup record that any player in the history of the competition would be proud of.
He picked up 23 points (second only to Billy Casper’s 23.5 points) from 32 matches (fifth most appearances).
He played on six Ryder Cup teams: 1961, 1963, 1965, 1967, 1971, and 1973. He was the last playing captain in 1963, and was a non-playing captain in 1975.
The USA were victorious on all seven occasions that Palmer was involved in the Ryder Cup.
1. A stunning comeback to win the US Open
The Pennsylvanian native claimed just one US Open but it arrived in astonishing fashion in 1960 at Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado.
Palmer trailed 54-hole leader Mike Souchak by seven shots heading into the final round. He started the day tied for 15th place and looked out of contention.
He carded a score of 65 (-4 overall), the lowest final round in US Open history to beat 22-year-old Jack Nicklaus by two strokes.
Mike Souchak recorded a 75 to finish in a tie for 3rd on one under.