In MEDIA SOUND BITES Leonard Shapiro on November 21, 2011 at 9:45 pm
Just call him The King, because Arnold Palmer truly is golf royalty, the winner of 62 PGA Tour events and seven major championships and a man many believe is singularly responsible for popularizing golf in the United States over the course of his brilliant career. Now an octogenarian who regularly shoots his age, or much lower and plays or practices virtually every day, Arnie recently took a few minutes to provide two most telling lists.

My Greatest Shots:

5. 1968 PGA Championship. A three-wood out of heavy rough to the 18th green in the final round was a career best shot that didn’t produce a victory. I missed an eight-foot birdie putt and lost the championship by a single stroke to Julius Boros at Pecan Valley Country Club in San Antonio.

4.  1958 Masters. A three-wood to the 13th green in the final round set up an eagle with a ruling awaited on an embedded ball drop at No. 12. The drop eventually was allowed and I won the first of my four Masters by a shot over Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins.

3. 1961 British Open. I hit a six-iron to the green from a very difficult lie at the 15th hole in the final round at Royal Birkdale.  I made a critical par there and beat Dai Rees by a stroke, the first of my two British Open titles.
 2. 1960 Masters. I made a 30-foot birdie putt at No. 17 in the final round and won the tournament  by a shot over Ken Venturi.
 1. 1960 U. S. Open. When just everyone had written me off when I trailed the lead by seven shots after three rounds at Cherry Hills in Denver,  I drove the green on my tee shot at the 346-yard first hole in the final round. I made a two-putt birdie there—the first of six birdies on the opening seven holes–and beat Jack Nicklaus by two shots for my only Open title.
 My Five Most Important Victories:
5. 1955 Canadian Open. It was my first of 62 career victories on the PGA Tour. I beat Jackie Burke Jr. by four shots at the Weston Golf Club in Toronto.
4. 1961 British Open. At Royal Birkdale, it was the first of my two British Open championships in a year when I won six events.
3. 1958 Masters. The first of my four Masters championships.
2. 1960 U.S. Open. My only Open championship in a year I was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. The tournament at Cherry Hills in Denver is considered one of the greatest Opens in history.
1. 1954 U.S. Amateur.  I was 24 years old and seven months out of the Coast Guard. I defeated Robert Sweeny, a 43-year-old businessman and a very fine player, 1-up over 36 holes at the Country Club of Detroit. I’ve always considered winning the Amateur the turning point of my career and my life.



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