Arnold Palmer's U.S. Open Wins, Playoffs and Yearly Finishes

Arnold Palmer played the U.S. Open 32 times, the first time in 1953 and the last time in 1994. Both his first and last appearances happened in years the tournament was played at Oakmont Country Club in Palmer's native Pennsylvania.

Palmer won the U.S. Open once and finished second four times; he had ten finishes in the Top 5 and 13 in the Top 10. His last Top 10 finish was at the 1975 tournament, and the last time he made the cut was in 1983 (also at Oakmont).

Palmer's U.S. Open Win

Arnold Palmer's lone win was in the 1960 U.S. Open — but it was a legendary win. Palmer was not in the Top 10 after any of the first three rounds. He entered the final round tied for 15th place, seven strokes behind leader Mike Souchak.

But Palmer was hot from the start in the final round: He opened his round by driving the green on the par-4 first hole and making birdie. He chipped in for birdie on the second hole, and added birdies on Nos. 3, 4, 6 and 7.

Palmer wound up carding a 65, then waiting around to see if it was good enough. Souchak shot 75 and finished in third; the runner-up was a young amateur named Jack Nicklaus, two strokes behind Palmer. Palmer's seven-shot, final-round comeback to win remains the U.S. Open record.

Palmer's Playoffs and Seconds in the U.S. Open

Palmer won "only" once in the U.S. Open, but he came close multiple other times — including losing three playoffs. He also had one other second-place finish, making four runners-up total.

His three playoff losses:

  • 1962: Lost 18-hole playoff to Jack Nicklaus, 74 to 71.
  • 1963: Lost 18-hole playoff to Julius Boros, 76 to 70. Jacky Cupit (73) was also in the playoff.
  • 1966: Lost 18-hole playoff to Billy Casper, 73 to 69.
His other runner-up finish was in the 1967 U.S. Open, where he finished four behind Nicklaus.

All of those seconds surely hurt, but the one that hurt the most was the playoff loss to Casper in the 1966 U.S. Open. It was kind of a mirror image of Palmer's comeback in 1960. This time Palmer blew a big lead: He had a seven-stroke lead over Casper with nine holes to play, but couldn't hold it. Casper tied him at 278, then beat Palmer in the 18-hole playoff in which Arnie again blew a late lead.

Arnold Palmer's Yearly Scores, Finishes in U.S. Open

  • 1953: 84-78—162 (+18), missed cut (played as an amateur)
  • 1954: 81-73—154 (+14), missed cut (played as an amateur)
  • 1955: 77-76-74-76—303 (+23), tie 21st
  • 1956: 72-70-72-73—287 (+7), 7th
  • 1957: 76-76—152 (+12), missed cut
  • 1958: 75-75-77-72—299 (+19), tie 23rd
  • 1959: 71-69-72-74—286 (+6), tie 5th
  • 1960: 72-71-72-65—280 (-4), win
  • 1961: 74-75-70-70—289 (+9), tie 14th
  • 1962: 71-68-73-71—283 (-1), 2nd (lost playoff)
  • 1963: 73-69-77-74—293 (+9), 2nd (lost playoff)
  • 1964: 68-69-75-74—286 (+6), tie 5th
  • 1965: 76-76—152 (+12), missed cut
  • 1966: 71-66-70-71—278 (-2), 2nd (lost playoff)
  • 1967: 69-68-73-69—279 (-1), 2nd
  • 1968: 73-74-79-75—301 (+21), 59th
  • 1969: 70-73-69-72—284 (+4), tie 6th
  • 1970: 79-74-75-77—305 (+17), tie 54th
  • 1971: 73-68-73-74—288 (+8), tie 24th
  • 1972: 77-68-73-76—294 (+6), 3rd
  • 1973: 71-71-68-72—282 (+2), tie 4th
  • 1974: 73-70-73-76—292 (+12), tie 5th
  • 1975: 69-75-73-73—290 (+6), tie 9th
  • 1976: 75-75-75-75—300 (+20), tie 50th
  • 1977: 70-72-73-72—287 (+7), tie 19th
  • 1978: 76-75—151 (+9), missed cut
  • 1979: 76-73-75-81—305 (+21), tie 59th
  • 1980: 73-73-77-78—301 (+21), 63rd
  • 1981: 77-78—155 (+15), missed cut
  • 1982: 81-75—156 (+12), missed cut
  • 1983: 74-75-78-76—303 (+19), tie 60th
  • 1984-92: did not qualify or did not enter qualifying
  • 1994: 77-81—158 (+16), missed cut
After the 1983 U.S. Open, Palmer's exemptions ran out. He tried for several years to get back into the tournament through sectional qualifying, without succeeding. His last appearance, in the 1994 U.S. Open, was through a USGA special exemption. It allowed him to make his farewell appearance at Oakmont.

U.S. Open Records and Achievements by Palmer

Palmer still holds two U.S. Open tournament records. Recall that in his 1960 victory, Palmer started the final round seven shots off the lead before winning. That remains the largest final-round comeback to win.

And in his final appearance in 1994, Palmer set a tournament record as the oldest-ever golfer in a U.S. Open. He was 64 years, 9 months and 9 days old.

Some of Palmer's other achievements in the tournament include becoming, in 1960, just the third golfer to win The Masters and U.S. Open in the same year. And he was the seventh golfer to record wins in both the U.S. Amateur (1954 for Palmer) and U.S. Open.

Palmer's 65 in the final round of the 1960 U.S. Open was a record at the time (later broken) for lowest fourth-round score by the winner.

Palmer's 32 appearances as a player in the U.S. Open is fifth-best in tournament history. His 31 consecutive starts from 1953-83 was, at the time of the 31st in 1983, second-best in tournament history. Today it ranks fifth.

Palmer's four second-place finishes shared the tournament record for many years (with Bobby Jones, Sam Snead and Jack Nicklaus) until Phil Mickelson broke that record. Palmer's six Top 3 finishes is tied for sixth-best in U.S. Open history; his 10 Top 5 finishes is tied for third-best; his 13 Top 10 finishes is fifth-best; his 18 Top 25 finishes is fifth-best. Arnie led the U.S. Open after the first, second or third rounds a total of nine times, which is tied for third-best.

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