Charismatic Palmer has "Army" of fans
June 18, 1960 - Palmer was mired in a tie for 15th place and seven strokes behind leader Mike Souchak after this morning's third round of the U.S. Open at the Cherry Hills Country Club, just outside Denver. In the locker room before the fourth round, Palmer's mind was on reaching the 346-yard first hole with one swing.
"If I drive the green and get a birdie or an eagle, I might shoot a 65. What'll that do?" Palmer asked two writers/friends, Bob Drum of the Pittsburgh Press and Dan Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. "Nothing," said Drum. "You're too far back."
"It would give me 280," Palmer said. "Doesn't 280 always win the Open?"
"Yeah," laughed Drum. "When Hogan shoots it."
But it was Palmer who had the last laugh. He drove the first hole and birdied it. He birdied the next three holes as well and six of the first seven. His 30 on the front nine tied the Open record.
With two holes left, he was tied with legendary Ben Hogan, a four-time Open winner. But the 47-year-old Hawk found water on the final two holes, going four over par while Palmer parred them. Palmer finished with that 65 he had talked about and won his only U.S. Open with his 280. It was two strokes better than a 20-year-old amateur, some fat kid named Nicklaus.
"On that afternoon, in the span of just 18 holes, we witnessed the arrival of Nicklaus, the coronation of Palmer and the end of Hogan," wrote Jenkins.
|Grand Slam Wins|
|1958||Masters||284||Augusta National||Augusta, Ga.|
|1960||Masters||282||Augusta National||Augusta, Ga.|
|1960||U.S. Open||280||Cherry Hills CC||Denver, Colo.|
|1961||British Open||284||Royal Birkdale||Southport, England|
|1962||Masters||280||Augusta National||Augusta, Ga.|
|1962||British Open||276||Royal Troon||Troon, Scotland|
|1964||Masters||276||Augusta National||Augusta, Ga.|
Odds 'n' Ends
Palmer proposed to Winnie Walzer four days after meeting her at a tournament in 1954. They were married for 44 years until Winnie died of cancer in 1999.