#50: Ryder Captain
Ryder Cups have always been hotly contested affairs, but Arnold Palmer had even more drive to win the 1963 event at East Lake Golf Club, perhaps, as he wasn’t just a player, he was the U.S. team captain.
As the last playing captain for either team, Palmer showed his trademark “go for it” style but he also showed strategic chops, putting four rookies out on the first morning in hopes of calming any butterflies. Johnny Pott, Tony Lema, Billy Maxwell and Dave Ragan were the newbies, and Palmer’s strategy worked. By the time the singles matches came around on the last day, the relaxed rooks went 3–1, the U.S. didn’t lose a single match in the afternoon, and the U.S. team ultimately won 23 points to nine, one of the largest margins of Ryder Cup victory ever. Palmer captained again in 1975, orchestrating another U.S. team victory at Laurel Valley Golf Club.