Arnold Palmer began his golf reign on this date 62 years ago. His first victory came just one year after turning pro, as The King captured the Canadian Open in August of 1955.
This would become the first of 92 career victories for Palmer. The four-day total of 265 at Weston Golf & Country Club would be the lowest score of Palmers career.
The purse for that year’s Canadian Open was $2,400, a seemingly low number. But due to inflation that number today would be closer to $22,000.
After the tournament Palmer acknowledged the crowd:
“I’d like to thank all the people at the tournament. And the galleries are certainly very wonderful. I don’t think I could’ve had any more rooters if I were playing in my own town.”
The seven-time major winner was known for his army of supporters, better known as Arnie’s Army. He never knew where the term originated, but it was perfect. Much like a military army, Arnie’s army was equipped with hundreds of thousands of people standing side by side for a cause. Did they have ammunition? Sure did, it was the roars the crowd produced for the golf legend.
On his website Arnold Palmer said:
“It was 1959 when I first saw the words “Arnie’s Army”. I only wish I knew the name of the young man who was clever enough to coin the phrase. When people ask what’s driven me all these years, I always give the same answer. It’s you.”
We lost Palmer in September last year, and even though he may not be on this earth anymore his spirit in the game of golf lives on. Without trying to, Palmer transcended the game of golf with his personality and positive engagement with the fans and members of the media.
Many consider him the greatest ambassador the game has ever seen, and there certainly won’t be another golfer like Palmer ever again.