ARNOLD PALMER … 62 PGA TOUR WINS … 6-TIME RYDER CUP PLAYER; 2-TIME RYDER CUP CAPTAIN … WINNER OF 7 MAJORS: MASTERS, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1964; U.S. OPEN, 1960; AND BRITISH OPEN, 1961, 1962 … U.S. AMATEUR CHAMPION, 1954 A game in which one endeavors to control a ball with implements ill adapted for the purpose. PRESIDENT W OODROW WILSON, on golf 116 IT’S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME My dad was my best instructor. I was strong and coachable, and after a while I realized that if I listened to him and focused I would be successful. His favorite saying was, Ninety percent of your success in golf will be determined from your neck up. MOMENT It’s a funny thing. The more I practice, the luckier I get. ARNOLD PALMER There are a number of moments in sports that I would consider very valuable in my career. The 1954 amateur championship was probably a turning point for me. At twenty-four, I came from behind to beat fortythree- year old Bob Sweeny in the final round to win the title. From August 1954 to January 1, 1955, I won the amateur, met a gal, got married, and started on the pro tour.
That tournament gave me the confidence to get on with my life. After spending three years in the service, I had started working as a manufacturer’s representative in Cleveland. After two short months, I started the tour and my career in golf. My direction and desires were all there in 1953 and I felt like I should have won the Amateur, but I didn’t. In 1954, it all just came together, which was a result of a maturation process. Even if I hadn’t gone pro, after that year I knew all I had to know about being successful in life and in business. EARNING IT The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done. ARNOLD PALMER My goals were simple: I wanted to go to the Walker Cup and get married. Those were the two things that drove me to do whatever I have in life. The problem was, I could not afford it. So I had to get other jobs to raise ARNOLD PALMER 117 the money to do the things I wanted to do. It was difficult, but I think that in order to understand and appreciate things, they have to be earned. If things come too easy then you’ll never understand the magnitude of your success or what you have. ON WINNING I never quit trying.
I never felt like I didn’t have a chance ARNOLD PALMER I was scared of losing, and that made me work harder and harder to accomplish what I wanted to accomplish. That fear is even what drives me today, because I am still not over that fear of losing. I don’t care if I’m playing with my wife or my children or a first-rate opponent. I try to do the things I do better than anyone else, and this doesn’t just apply to golf. THE FIRST IN GOLF AND IN BUSINESS Concentration comes out of a combination of confidence and hunger. ARNOLD PALMER The differences in my approach in sports and business were stark. In business, I didn’t take many chances. In golf, I took chances. I always thought that if I maintained my integrity and knew what I was doing, I’d be successful. ARNIE’S ARMY I hope people reading this will think more about honesty and integrity than championships. The fact that people think of me as playing hard and charging from behind is a great feeling for me.
I was, and still today am, about the effort to succeed, not just about the result. That’s what keeps me going. I still test myself. I still exercise. I still eat right. And that’s contributed a great deal to the enjoyment I’m getting out of my later years. I think I have a large fan base because they recognize the effort I put in. I also try to bring an appreciation of their support every time I come to the course. 118 IT’S HOW YOU PLAY THE GAME MY WRAP Arnold Palmer is a whatever-it-takes guy who maxed out his ability. Few would say he left anything behind in the locker room. As much as it pains him to see his game suffer as he gets older, he’d rather play and record a high score than not play at all. And I think we can all learn from that. ARNOLD PALMER
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