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Timeline of Arnold Palmer's life and career.
1929 Arnold Palmer is born on September 10 in Latrobe, a small industrial town in Pennsylvania.
1933 For the first time, at age 4, Palmer swings a golf club that was cut down by his father, Milfred (Deacon) Palmer, the golf professional and course superintendent at Latrobe Country Club.
1947 Palmer enrolls at Wake Forest College in North Carolina and joins the golf team.
1951 Palmer begins a three-year hitch in the U.S. Coast Guard.
1954 Palmer wins the U.S. Amateur Championship and weds Winifred [Winnie] Walzer shortly after he turns professional.
1955 Palmer wins his first professional title at the Canadian Open.
1956 The Palmers welcome their first child—daughter Peggy. Palmer begins taking flying lessons in a single-engine Cessna 172.
1958 Palmer wins his first Masters championship at Augusta National Golf Club en route to becoming the PGA Tour’s leading money winner for 1958. The couple welcome their second daughter, Amy.
1960 Arnie’s Army forms at the Masters Tournament with soldier volunteers from Fort (then Camp) Gordon, near Augusta, Georgia, posting signs on the tournament scoreboards encouraging Palmer. A local newspaper is the first to use the term “Arnie’s Army.” Palmer wins his second Masters championship and the U.S. Open. Palmer is chosen Sportsman of the Year by Sports Illustrated.
1961 Palmer wins his first British Open championship. He publishes his first book titled Arnold Palmer’s Golf Book and purchases his first aircraft, an Aero Commander 500.
1962 Palmer wins his third Masters championship and his second British Open championship.
1969 The Associated Press names Palmer Athlete of the Decade for the 1960s.
1976 Palmer makes aviation history when he flies around the world in a Lear 36 in less than 58 hours, setting a world record.
1981 Palmer becomes the first person to win the U.S. Amateur Championship, U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open.
1989 The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Women opens in Orlando, Florida.
1990 Amy Saunders, Palmer’s youngest daughter, is diagnosed with breast cancer at age 32.
1994 Palmer plays in his final U.S. Open and PGA Championship.
1995 Palmer makes his final appearance in the British Open at St. Andrews.
1997 Palmer undergoes successful prostate cancer surgery, leading him to become a strong advocate of programs supporting cancer research and early detection.
1999 Winnie Palmer, Arnold’s wife of 45 years, dies of peritoneal carcinoma on November 20. Palmer’s book A Golfer’s Life
2002 Arnie’s Army Battles Prostate Cancer launches with the Prostate Cancer Foundation. To date, Arnie’s Army has sponsored almost 1,800 golf tournaments, held at clubs around the country, raising $1 million in the fight against prostate cancer.
2003 The Arnold Palmer Pavilion opens as part of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and Latrobe Area Hospital, offering cancer patients state-of-the-art treatments close to home.
2004 Palmer celebrates his 50th year in professional golf and plays in his 50th and final Masters. He is presented with the prestigious Presidential Medal of Freedom by President George W. Bush at a White House ceremony.
2005 Palmer marries Kathleen (Kit) Gawthrop. Palmer is featured in TEAM Approach public service announcements. These TV spots, created by the Prostate Cancer Foundation, aim to raise awareness of the impact of prostate cancer and urge men to seek help if their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level continues to rise after initial treatment.
2006 Palmer contributes $2 million for cancer prevention research to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute.
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