Brice Durbin, NFHS executive director, presents Hall of Fame award to Arnold Palmer at 1986 induction ceremony in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The sport of golf has produced many big names – Jones, Hogan, Nelson, Snead, Nicklaus, Woods, among others – but perhaps the most beloved player of all was Arnold Palmer, who passed away this past Sunday at the age of 87.
While much has been written about “The King” and his accomplishments as a professional golfer, including his 92 victories worldwide, seven major championships and two PGA Player of the Year awards (1960, 1962), his success at Greater Latrobe High School in Pennsylvania paved the way for his induction into the NFHS National High School Hall of Fame.
Palmer was inducted into NFHS Hall of Fame in 1986 during ceremonies in Las Vegas, Nevada, as a part of a class that included Johnny Bench, Joe Ferguson and Kim Mulkey.
At Greater Latrobe, Palmer was a four-year letterman and lost only a single dual match in four years. His high school teams captured three section championships (1945-47), advancing to the state tournament each of those years with Palmer featured as the top-ranked player. In 1946 and 1947, Palmer was the individual champion for the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA), and the 1946 runner-up for the West Penn Junior Championship and Hurst National Junior Open.
The 1947 graduate of Greater Latrobe was recognized on September 10, 2014, his 85th birthday, when the school district opened the doors to the $9 million Arnold Palmer Field House at a dedication ceremony. Palmer donated $1 million to the construction through the Greater Latrobe Partners in Education Foundation, according to Trib LIVE.
Palmer was the No. 1 golfer while attending Wake Forest University, and was one of the top collegiate players of the late 1940s. When there, he left the Demon Deacons program for a three-year stint in the Coast Guard, before returning to Wake Forest and subsequently capturing the 1954 U.S. Amateur Championship.
The 1960s “Athlete of the Decade,” Palmer captured 29 of his 62 U.S. tour victories from 1960 to 1963. Among his seven majors, “The King,” won the Masters four times (1958, 1960, 1962, 1964), the British Open twice (1961-62), and the 1960 U.S. Open, which he did so after falling into a final round seven-stroke deficit.