12 quotes from Arnold Palmer on the golfer's birthday

Cheered on by his Arnie’s Army of fairway fans, Arnold Palmer led the charge into golf’s TV era with his athletic charisma and aggressive swings. The son of a greenskeeper and later a club pro in Latrobe, Pa., Palmer played collegiately at Wake Forest University before hitting the PGA Tour, where his star rose rapidly upon winning the 1958 Masters tournament. He eventually would win 62 tour events (the fifth most ever), three more Masters, a pair of British Opens, and one US Open. All the while, he was competing against Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player in a friendly but fierce rivalry of golf’s Big Three. Today Palmer lives in Orlando, Fla., near his Bay Hill Country Club, where he hosts his annual Arnold Palmer Invitational. In 2004, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  


Chaz Palla/Pittsburgh Tribune Review/AP

“Putting is like wisdom – partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.”

Mental qualifications

Chris O'Meara/AP

“Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character."

Reaching for the stars

Golf Channel/PR Newswire

“The most rewarding things you do in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.”

Beautiful shots

Matt Stroshane/Golf Channel/PR Newswire

“What other people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive.”

Go for it!

David Rolfe/Winston-Salem Journal/AP

“You must play boldly to win.”

Golf's appeal

Dave Martin/AP

“Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and maddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”


Dave Martin/AP

“Winning isn't everything, but wanting it is.”

On rooting

Arnold Palmer (r.) with Jack Nicklaus (l.) and Sam Snead (center) AP

“I never rooted against an opponent, but I never rooted for him either.”

Penurious pal

Sam Snead AP

Sam Snead will fly anywhere in my plane with me. Sam's not as worried about the danger as he is about saving money.”

Scoring shortcut

Jack Nicklaus (l.) with Arnold Palmer (r.) Morry Gash/AP

“I have a tip that can take five strokes off anyone's golf game. It's called an eraser.”

No sinking feeling

Arnold Palmer on the construction site of a Springhill Suites by Marriott hotel in his hometown of Latrobe, Pa. Concord Hospitality Enterprises/Business Wire

“One thing I've learned over time is, if you hit a golf ball into water, it won't float.”

Bearing down

Brian Snyder/Reuters

"The secret of concentration is the secret of self-discovery. You reach inside yourself to discover your personal resources and what it takes to match them to the challenge."