Among the greatest and most popular golfers of all time, Palmer headed toward success at an early age. A standout golfer at Latrobe High School, where he won the WPIAL and PIAA Championships in 1946 and 1947, and then at Wake Forest University. He won two West Penn Juniors in 1947 & 1948, five West Penn Amateurs in 1947, and 1949-1952, and the 1957 West Penn Open while taking a week off from the PGA Tour. He also claimed the title in the Ohio Amateur in 1953 and 1954.
Palmer is one of three players to win the West Penn Junior and Amateur in the same year.
After winning the 1954 U.S. Amateur at The Country Club of Detroit, Palmer turned professional at the age of 24 and had immediate success. His greatest stretch as a professional was from 1958 to 1964 when he won his seven professional major titles. He won the Masters Tournament 1958, 1960, 1962 and 1964, and the 1961 and 1962 British Open. From 1960 to 1967, his record in the U.S. Open included one win in 1960, and four runner-up finishes with three of them in a playoff for the title. He also won the 1981 U.S. Senior Open int he first year he was eligible.
Palmer is part of an elite group of five players to win three different USGA Championships along with JoAnne Carner, Jack Nicklaus, Carol Semple Thompson and Tiger Woods. He is also part of an elite group of golfers with victories in the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open and U.S. Senior Open.
All told, he won 62 events on the PGA Tour, 12 on the Senior Tour and 92 titles overall around the world. His 22-8-2 record in he Ryder Cup play is the best winning percentage ever. He also won four Vardon trophies for low scoring average in a season on the PGA Tour, three money titles, and two PGA Tour Player of the Year honors. His total wins on the PGA Tour ranks him fifth all-time.
In 1971, the USGA awarded him its highest honor by naming him the recipient of the Bob Jones Award.
Palmer was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.