On April 6, 1958, Arnold Palmer won the first of his four Masters titles and seven major tournaments overall. Three-time champion Sam Snead, age 45, co-led the ’58 tournament after 54 holes, but shot a 79 (+7) on Sunday to fall to 13th place.
Palmer arrived at the 1958 Masters having won the eighth title of his career earlier in the year at the St. Petersburg Open. The 28-year-old was cautiously confident he could improve upon position from the previous year, when he tied for seventh at the Masters.
ARNOLD PALMER WINS 1958 MASTERS
Palmer’s first Masters victory came with some controversy. On the 12th hole of the final round, he felt his tee ball was embedded behind the green which would entitle him to relief, but the on-site rules official disagreed.
Palmer played the ball without relief for a double-bogey, then again — with relief — for par. Several holes later, tournament officials ruled that Palmer was entitled to relief and his par score on 12 would stand. The decision made all the difference for Palmer between winning and losing, as he finished the tournament just one stroke ahead of both Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins.
Palmer went on to win the Masters again in 1960 (by one stroke over Ken Venturi), 1962 (by three strokes over Gary Player in a playoff), and finally in 1964 (by six strokes over Dave Marr and Jack Nicklaus).
That final Masters title in 1964, made Palmer the first golfer to win the tournament four times — a feat that was subsequently exceeded by Nicklaus and matched by Tiger Woods.