Arnold Palmer's Record in Playoffs and All the Scores

Arnold Palmer won 62 times on the PGA Tour in his long and glorious career, and more than one-quarter of those wins happened as a result of playoffs. Of course, Palmer lost in playoffs, too. So that's what we are going to examine: Arnie's playoff record.

How many playoffs did Arnold Palmer play on the PGA Tour? Answer: 24.

What was Palmer's playoff record? He won 14 of those playoffs and lost 10.

Which golfers beat Palmer in a PGA Tour playoff? Howie Johnson, Bill Collins, Doug Ford, Jack Nicklaus (twice), Julius Boros, Jacky Cupit*, Gary Player, Tony Lema, Doug Sanders, Billy Casper. (The asterisk* means that Cupit did not win the playoff in question, but did finish ahead of Palmer in it.)

Arnold Palmer's Major Championship Playoffs

In four major championship playoffs, Palmer had one win and three losses. All three of those losses were in U.S. Opens.

1962 Masters: This was an 18-hole playoff between three major champions — Palmer, Gary Player and Dow Finsterwald. Palmer was three behind at the turn, but scored 31 over the back nine to win by three strokes. Palmer shot 68, Player 71 and Finsterwald 77.

1962 U.S. Open: One of the most-famous playoffs in golf history, because Jack Nicklaus beat Palmer to win not only his first major championship title, but his first PGA Tour title of any kind. At Oakmont, Nicklaus shot 71 to Palmer's 74.

1963 U.S. Open: A year after falling to Nicklaus in a U.S. Open playoff, Palmer was in another one. And it was another three-man playoff. This time Palmer was the higher scorer with a 76. Julius Boros won it with a 70 and Jacky Cupit shot 73.

1966 U.S. Open: Palmer's third U.S. Open playoff and his third loss. This is the Open in which Palmer led Billy Casper by seven strokes with nine holes to play, only for Casper to chase down and tie Palmer. In the 18-hole playoff, Palmer again led only for Casper to rally for the win. Casper scored 69, Palmer 73.

Palmer's Other PGA Tour Playoffs

In 20 "regular" PGA Tour event playoffs, Palmer had a record of 13-7.
  • 1956 Insurance Open: Almost a year in his first win (1955 Canadian Open), Palmer picked up win No. 2 in a playoff in this tournament. The format was sudden death and the opponent was Ted Kroll. Palmer birdied the second playoff hole to pick up the victory.
  • 1957 Rubber City Open Invitational: Also a sudden death playoff, but this one lasted six holes. On that sixth hole, Palmer finally defeated Doug Ford with a birdie.
  • 1958 Azalea Open: Some PGA Tour tournaments once used 18-hole playoffs, and the Azalea was one of them. Palmer's playoff opponent was Howie Johnson, and neither played well. But Johnson came out the winner by a stroke, 77 to 78.
  • 1959 West Palm Beach Open: Facing Gay Brewer and Pete Cooper in sudden death, this WPB Open playoff went to the fourth hole before Palmer won it with a par.
  • 1960 Houston Classic: Another 18-hole playoff, this time Arnie facing Bill Collins. And Collins won by two strokes, 69 to 71.
  • 1960 Insurance City Open: This three-way playoff included Palmer, Collins and Jack Fleck. Collins was eliminated on the first extra hole, then Palmer beat Fleck with a birdie on the third hole.
  • 1961 San Diego Open Invitational: Palmer defeated Al Balding on the first hole of sudden death with a birdie.
  • 1961 Phoenix Open Invitational: This was an 18-hole playoff with Doug Sanders as the opponent. Palmer won by three strokes, shooting 67 to Sanders' 70.
  • 1961 500 Festival Invitation: This was a loss in sudden death for Palmer. Doug Ford beat him with a birdie on the second extra hole of the 500 Festival Invitational, which was partially played inside the Indy 500 speedway.
  • 1962 Colonial National Invitation: In an 18-hole playoff against Johnny Pott, Palmer won by four strokes. Palmer's score was 69 and Pott's was 73.
  • 1963 Thunderbird Classic: In the sudden-death playoff, Palmer won on the first extra hole. He needed only a par to defeat Paul Harney.
  • 1963 Cleveland Open: This was a three-man, 18-hole playoff against Tommy Aaron and Tony Lema. Palmer scored 67 to win, Aaron and Lema both had 70s.
  • 1963 Western Open: Another three-man, 18-hole playoff, and this one was for the big boys: Palmer's opponents were Jack Nicklaus and Julius Boros. And Palmer came out on top with a score of 70. Boros had a 71 and Nicklaus a 73.
  • 1965 Pensacola Open: Yet again, a three-man, 18-hole playoff, this time against Miller Barber and Gary Player. Player was the winner with a 71, Palmer had a 72 and Barber a 74.
  • 1964 Cleveland Open: Palmer lost to Tony Lema's birdie on the first playoff hole.
  • 1966 Bob Hope Desert Classic: Another first-hole loss to an opponent's birdie. The foe this time was Doug Sanders.
  • 1966 Tournament of Champions: This was Palmer's last 18-hole playoff in a regular PGA Tour event (he still had one U.S. Open playoff after this). And Palmer won by four strokes, beating Gay Brewer 69 to 73.
  • 1968 Bob Hope Desert Classic: In this sudden-death playoff against Deane Beman, Palmer won with a par on the second hole.
  • 1970 Byron Nelson Golf Classic: This was the last of the three Palmer-Nicklaus playoff meetings. It was sudden death, and Nicklaus ended it quickly, winning with a birdie on the first extra hole.
  • 1971 Bob Hope Desert Classic: Palmer's final PGA Tour playoff was in extra holes against Raymond Floyd. And Palmer won with a second-hole birdie.

More Playoffs for Palmer

Arnold Palmer also got into a playoff in the 1978 Victorian Open in Australia, three years after his most-recent win in any other non-senior tournament. But he lost this one to Guy Wolstenholme, falling to a par on the third extra hole.

Champions Tour Playoffs

On the senior tour, Palmer had a 2-1 record in three playoffs.
  • 1980 Senior PGA Championship: Palmer defeated Paul Harney on the first sudden-death hole with a birdie.
  • 1981 U.S. Senior Open: Palmer won this three-man, 18-hole playoff by four strokes. Arnie scored 70, Bob Stone had a 74 and Billy Casper a 77.
  • 1984 Daytona Beach Seniors Golf Classic: Palmer lost to Orville Moody when Moody birdied the second playoff hole. Dan Sikes was also in the playoff.

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