Born on September 10, 1929 in Youngstown, Pennsylvania, the son of the professional and greenskeeper at the Latrobe Country Club, Arnold Palmer grew up in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. He attended Wake Forest University on a golf scholarship, leaving to spend three years with the Coast Guard in 1951.
Palmer recorded 26 amateur tournament wins, including the 1954 U.S. Amateur, a victory regarded as the turning point of his career. After turning professional, Palmer recorded a win at the Canadian open in 1955. His charismatic personality, swashbuckling style of golf, and his unfailing sense of kindness and thoughtfulness endeared him to millions throughout the world.
An avid pilot, Palmer's love for aviation was second only to golf. In 1976, he piloted an aircraft around the globe, setting a speed record of 57 hours, 25 minutes, and 42 seconds.
Deemed the "King of Golf" by his legion of fans known as "Arnie's Army", Arnold Palmer had 92 official victories, including seven major championships. He was the first golfer to win 4 Masters and was named PGA Tour player of the year in 1960 and 1962.
Palmer was the leading money winner on the PGA Tour in 1958, 1960, 1962, and 1963, and played on six Ryder Cup teams between 1961 and 1973.
Arnold Palmer's legacy extends to philanthropy, with Palmer having served as the honorary chairman of the March of Dimes for nearly 20 years. Established in 1989, the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Women and Children works to provide leading edge medical care with an emphasis on a family-centered environment. In 2006, the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies opened, embodying the ideals of healing, caring, warmth, dignity, and respect.
The Arnold Palmer Prostate Center, based in Palm Desert at the Eisenhower Medical Center, uses the TEAM approach (Treatment, Education, Awareness, and Management) and is a world-class facility for prostate cancer treatment. In 2002, the Arnold Palmer Pavilion was established in Latrobe, Pennsylvania; prior to its opening, access to the latest cancer therapies and treatments required patients to travel as far as Pittsburgh.
In 2000, the Winnie Palmer Nature Reserve became a reality at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.
Arnold Palmer received the National Sports Award from President Bill Clinton (he is the only person to receive this award). He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush, and a Congressional Gold Medal from President Barack Obama. Just the sixth athlete to win this award, Palmer spoke about the humbling experience: "I'm particularly proud of anything that the House and Senate agree on."
Palmer's Endorsements include: Callaway, Insperity, Rolex, and Golf Digest. The Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by MasterCard, is a PGA TOUR event held annually in March at Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Florida. The Arnold Palmer Design Company features 300-plus designs that uphold the philosophy of building beautiful golf courses that are fun to play while maintaining the utmost respect for nature.
Palmer said to Mark McCormack, "I made clear...from the beginning that I didn't feel comfortable pitching a product or service I wouldn't use or didn't think was very good. That just seemed dishonest to me and I was pretty sure the public would see right through it."