Every April Since 1955 Arnold Palmer has been at Augusta.
In 1954 after winning the U.S. Amateur Arnold Palmer became a professional golfer, only 6 months later in 1955 he played in his first Masters. He finished tied for 10th with Byron Nelson who won in 1937 and 1942 and split $696.00 in winnings. That year the average U.S. home sold for $20,000 and average yearly household income was $4000.00, and popular tour golf balls were the Spaulding Air-Flight, Titleist Acushnet Ball and the Club Special selling for $1.75 per sleeve.
For the next 50 years Arnold Palmer played in every Masters until his last in 2004, a record that will be hard to beat. Gary Player, the only other player with over 50 appearances missed a few years along the way. In Palmers most dominate period from 1958 to 1964 he won 37 times including 4 Masters, a U.S. Open and two Open Championship. In all, Arnold won over 95 Tour events in his career that spanned over 6 decades.
In 1956 The Maters Tournament became the first major on television, Arnold became an instant celebrity. By 1958 with his first Masters title in hand Palmer had become one of the most popular athletes in the world. In 1968 he became the first professional golfer in history to eclipse $1 million in earnings. He became known as “The King” because of his impact on the game during the beginnings of golf on television. He was the first superstar to capture the hearts of America through televised golf and his impact on the game will never be matched by another.
In 2007 Arnold Palmer became the Honorary Starter of the Masters, he was joined by Jack Nicklaus in 2010 and Gary Player in 2012, rounded out the Big Three that has started the event for the last 5 years. At this years Masters on the first tee on Thursday morning Arnold will be missed by us all.
There has never been and will never be anyone to can fill the shoes of Arnold Palmer, 2017 will be the Masters without the King.