The Masters: Palmer’s last Masters victory came in 1964 and made him the first 4-time winner

Arnold Palmer was due a breather at the Masters Tournament.

In his first three victories at Augusta National Golf Club, Palmer had to endure a rules controversy, produce a spectacular finish and survive a three-man playoff to earn his wins.

In 1964, he faced no such obstacles in becoming the tournament’s first four-time winner.

Palmer did have to share the spotlight in the first round with four others, who all shot 69s to share the lead. But that was as near as Palmer would let anyone get to him for the remainder of the tournament.

A second-round 68 put him in the lead for good, and a 69 in the third round gave him a five-shot lead going into the final round. He also had a shot at making history.

Ben Hogan’s 72-hole record of 274 (at the time) and becoming the first player to score all four rounds in the 60s (something no one has achieved) were in Palmer’s reach that Sunday.

Palmer was steady in the final round, shooting 2-under-par 70 for a six-stroke victory over Dave Marr and defending champion Jack Nicklaus. It was the worst round of the tournament for Palmer, whose 276 total was two shots off Hogan’s record.

“This is the most singularly exciting tournament for me ever,” Palmer said after slipping on his green jacket. “For once in my life, I planned to do something and did what I wanted.”

Palmer also took the opportunity to thank his fans.

“I want to thank Mr. Roberts, Mr. Jones and members of the gallery, especially,” he said after the round. “They’re my friends.”

Although neither Palmer nor his adoring public could have predicted it, the 1964 Masters would be his last victory in a major championship. He finished no worse than fourth the next three Masters, but after 1967 Palmer never seriously challenged again at Augusta National.

“I don’t really know why it was the last,” Palmer said of 1964. “I hope it wasn’t the satisfaction of winning the Masters.”

1964: Arnold Palmer cruises to Masters win
1964: Palmer's final major

ON THIS DATE

1950: Jimmy Demaret shot 69 to become the tournament’s first three-time champion.

1967: Gay Brewer closed with 67 to win by one stroke over Bobby Nichols.

1972: Jack Nicklaus completed a wire-to-wire victory and joined Arnold Palmer as the tournament’s only four-time champions.

1973: Georgia native Tommy Aaron fired a final-round 68 to claim victory.

1978: Gary Player birdied seven of the final 10 holes to shoot 64 and capture his third Masters victory.

1989: Nick Faldo shot 65 to force a playoff, then beat Scott Hoch on the second hole of sudden death.

1995: Ben Crenshaw paid tribute to mentor Harvey Penick, who had recently died, with a final-round 68.

2000: Vijay Singh fired 69 to defeat Ernie Els by three strokes.

2006: Phil Mickelson added a second green jacket as he shot 69 to hold off Tim Clark by two shots.

INNOVATION

Though the Masters wasn’t the first tournament to be televised, it soon became the most coveted telecast in all of sports. Several innovations – first golf broadcast in color, first overseas broadcast, first HDTV broadcast on network TV, first 3D production for any major sporting event – are just a few of the milestones achieved in television.

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