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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 March, 2004, 16:20 GMT 17:20 UK
Wonder years - Arnold Palmer

Who is the true master of Augusta?

MASTERS' MASTER CONTENDERS

Jack Nicklaus beat off the claims of four other great Masters champions to be crowned your king of Augusta.

To celebrate Arnold Palmer's 50th straight appearance at the Masters, an event he won four times in seven years between 1958-1964, we asked you to pick your all-time Master.

And we can reveal that Nicklaus' six Green Jackets edged him narrowly ahead of Palmer and Gary Player to make him the BBC Sport website users' greatest Master of them all.


Arnold Palmer
By Rob Hodgetts

A whirlwind threatened to uproot Augusta during the late 1950 and 1960s and its name was Arnold Palmer.

ARNIE AT AUGUSTA
Born: 10/09/39, Pennsylvania
Turned pro: 1955
Career wins: 92
Major titles: 7
Masters wins: 4 (1958, 1960, 1962, 1964)
Masters runner-up: 2 (1961, 1965)
Other Masters achievements: Nine top-five finishes; worst fourth-round score for winner (75 in 1962)

The strongly-built athlete with the grace of a gentleman became a Masters legend during a phenomenal hot streak which yielded four wins in seven years.

Palmer clinched his first Masters in 1958 at the fourth attempt, aged 28, and went on to win again in 1960, 1962 and 1964.

His charge, supported by a growing number of fans dubbed "Arnie's Army", led to 11 straight top-10 finishes, including nine top fives, before the hurricane blew itself out as abrubtly as it had started.

The four-time champion stands second only to Jack Nicklaus in the number of Green Jackets he has won over the fabled fairways of Augusta.

Palmer's golden era came as the legendary Ben Hogan and Sam Snead were reaching the end of their reigns.

But his maiden Masters title came about in somewhat controversial circumstances.

He was tied in first place with Snead going into the final round on Sunday.

Arnold Palmer won the Masters four times in seven years from 1958-1964

The tournament had been plagued by heavy rain and for the last 18 holes, players were allowed to lift and drop their balls without penalty.

On the 12th, at the heart of what has become known as Amen Corner - a phrase first coined that year - Palmer hit over the green and the ball plugged in the bank behind it.

Palmer was unclear about the precise ruling and so, after consulting with the nearest official, he opted to play both his original ball and a provisional.

He took a five with the first and a three with the dropped ball and moved on to the 13th not sure which score would count.

He sank an 18-foot putt for eagle at 13 before being informed two holes later that his three at the 12th would count.

PALMER'S MASTERS CHARGE
1957: T7th
1958: 1st
1959: 3rd
1960: 1st
1961: T2nd
1962: 1st
1963: T9th
1964: 1st
1965: T2nd
1966: T4th
1967: 4th

He went on to beat countrymen Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins, who both missed birdie putts at the 18th to finish one shot adrift. Snead took 79 to slip back to 13th.

After a third place the following year, Palmer won his second Masters in 1960, becoming only the second wire-to-wire victor despite trailing Ken Venturi by three at one point during final round.

In 1961 he was edged out by Gary Player after taking a double-bogey six at the 18th when needing a par to win.

But he gained his revenge on Player, and Dow Finsterwald, with a play-off victory in 1962 after birdieing two of the last three holes in regulation play.

The Palmer Express continued at full throttle with his fourth win aged 34 in 1964, by six shots from Nicklaus and Dave Marr.

Arnold Palmer
Palmer won four Masters in seven years from 1958-1964

He completed his extraordinary run at Augusta with a second place in 1965 - nine-shots behind Nicklaus - followed by two fourths to round off an exceptional period in Masters history.

Palmer missed the cut the following year and never again reached the top 10.

But he had stamped his indelible mark on a tournament that has defied many of the game's best.





Links to more Masters 2004 stories


 

SEE ALSO
Fighting fit - Gary Player
31 Mar 04  |  Masters 2004
The Bear's lair - Jack Nicklaus
31 Mar 04  |  Masters 2004
A stiff upper lip - Nick Faldo
31 Mar 04  |  Masters 2004
Young pretender - Tiger Woods
31 Mar 04  |  Masters 2004


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