Arnie marks major anniversary

When Arnold Palmer hits one of the ceremonial opening tee shots on the first hole at Augusta National to kick off the Masters on Thursday, he will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of claiming his fourth and final Green Jacket.

Those watching that day at Augusta would never dreamed it would be his last Masters title, because Palmer blew away the field, beating Jack Nicklaus and Dave Marr by six strokes.

“Well, of course you never think you’re going to be at your last stop, but it was great,” Palmer told Golfweek. “I suppose that psychologically I had accomplished maybe more than I even realized by winning the Masters and walking up the 18th hole comfortably.

“That was something that was truly great for me.”

Palmer, who will hit the ceremonial tee shots along with the other two members of what was known as “The Big Three,” Nicklaus and Gary Player, said last month that he will undergo a back procedure after the Masters.

He said that back pain has not allowed him to play as much golf as he would like recently.

“I’ve been practicing and I’m a little sore,” Palmer said. “For one swing (at the Masters) it will be all right.”

Palmer’s 1964 victory at Augusta also was the last of his seven victories in the majors.

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