1. Augusta National Golf Club, Augusta, Ga.: Palmer captured his first professional major at the 1958 Masters, obtaining a delayed, favorable final-round ruling at the par-3 12th to win by one. His rep as a charger blossomed when he won the Masters again in 1960, birdieing the final two holes for another one-shot victory. He would win the tournament again in 1962 and 1964.
2 of 10Courtesy of USGA Archives
2. Cherry Hills Country Club, Denver, Colo.: The course that officially crowned Palmer 'The King' held the 1960 U.S. Open, when Arnie came from seven shots back with one round to play, firing a 65 to beat amateur Jack Nicklaus by two. Palmer cemented his legend by driving the green at the par-4 1st and going on to birdie six of the first seven holes, en route to a front-nine 30.
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3. Oakmont Country Club, Oakmont, Pa.: The crown suffered serious tarnish when he lost the 1962 U.S. Open playoff to rookie Jack Nicklaus, in front of his home fans in western Pennsylvania. Yet, he was so heroic in battle and so gracious in defeat, his stature grew, even as his kingdom took a big hit. He nearly won the 1973 U.S. Open here but for Johnny Miller’s 63 and his emotional goodbye at the 1994 U.S. Open choked up even the most jaded media.
4 of 10Jerry Cooke / Sports Illustrated
4. St. Andrews (Old Course), St. Andrews, Scotland: Palmer single-handedly revived the stature of the British Open as a major championship when he chose to compete in the 1960 edition here. Convinced that the modern Grand Slam was worth pursuing, he made the trip and just missed winning, failing by one shot to Australian Kel Nagle. “I’ll keep coming back until I win this championship,” vowed Palmer. The Scots embraced him as they had Bobby Jones, and the British Open soon regained its status as a legitimate major.
5 of 10Bob Thomas / Getty Images
5. Royal Birkdale Golf Club, Southport, England: In his second foray to the British Open, Palmer this time captured the Claret Jug by one shot. He was aided by one of the studliest shots ever hit in a major, a scythed 6-iron from the deepest rough on the course that he knocked onto the green at the 15th hole during the final round.
6 of 10Associated Press
6. Royal Troon Golf Club, Troon, Scotland: More Palmer power was on display when the King shot an Open record 276. His six-stroke margin of victory was the largest since 1929, and he was 13 shots better than the third place finishers.
7 of 10Walter Iooss Jr. / Sports Illustrated
7. Olympic Club (Lake), San Francisco, Calif.: Palmer hadn’t won a major in two years, but a coronation was in the making at the U.S Open. With just nine holes to play, Palmer led Billy Casper by seven. Palmer set his sights on breaking Ben Hogan’s U.S. Open scoring record of 276. He started hooking, pressing and hooking some more, as Casper quietly racked up birdies. They wound up tied at 278. Palmer lost the playoff by four, after leading by two at the turn, but the go-for-breaking-the-record strategy instead of playing it safe became part of the Palmer legend.
8 of 10Courtesy of USGA Archives
8. Country Club of Detroit, Grosse Point Farms, Mich.: It wasn’t quite snobs versus slobs, but it was certainly a culture clash when Palmer burst on the national scene at the 1954 U.S. Amateur. Palmer was a 24-year-old son of a golf pro, working as a salesman and living in Cleveland, seven months removed from the Coast Guard. His 43-year-old opponent, Bob Sweeny, had won the 1937 British Amateur, was the son of an investment banker and who wintered at the toniest private clubs in golf. Palmer won, 1-up, and the legend was born.
9 of 10Associated Press
9. Bermuda Dunes Country Club, Bermuda Dunes, Calif.: If anyone besides Arnold Palmer helped popularized golf in the 1950s and 1960s, it was Bob Hope. Arnie was a fixture at the celebrity-rich Bob Hope Desert Classic and won it five times. His final PGA Tour win came in 1973 at Bermuda Dunes, final-round venue for the Hope that year, when he edged Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Miller by two.
10 of 10Bettmann/Corbis / Sports Illustrated
10. Firestone Country Club (South), Akron, Ohio: Arnie first smoked Firestone in 1957, winning the PGA Tour’s Rubber City Open. In the 1960s, Palmer competed so many times here, at the CBS Golf Classic, in the Big 3 Matches, the World Series of Golf, the American Golf Classic and at two PGA Championships (T-7 and T-6, respectively) that Palmer, Firestone and big-time golf on television became practically synonymous. The King won three official tournaments here, the others being the 1962 and 1967 American Golf Classics.
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