#81: Wins the 1954 U.S. Amateur
In many ways, Arnold Palmer’s victory in the 1954 U.S. Amateur started it all. Within months of the win Palmer had turned pro, gotten married and begun his journey to becoming a legend.
But more than that, it set the tone for Palmer’s career in a way that seemed as if it had been scripted in Hollywood, with a young working-class Arnie facing off against Robert Sweeny, a dashing, Oxford-educated banker’s son.
As a 1954 Sports Illustrated had it, the tournament final featured “‘a graying millionaire playboy who is a celebrity on two continents' and ‘a tanned muscular young salesman from Cleveland who literally grew up on a golf course’ and pitted them together in a ‘battle of the classes.’” Following the amateur everyone knew that Palmer was from Latrobe, Pennsylvania, not Cleveland, and golf would never be the same.