There is a large void at Augusta as the 2017 Masters marks the first of its kind without Arnold Palmer. The tournament started off with a tribute to Palmer and his presence could be felt throughout the tournament.
Palmer was one of the most successful golfers in Masters history by winning four green jackets. Palmer won four of the seven Masters that took place between 1958-1964.
It is interesting to note Palmer never won back-to-back Masters but won the tournament every other year during that stretch. While he would not be able to top his early success, Palmer continued to play at Augusta with his last Masters taking place in 2004.
He won his first Masters in 1958, but it was not without controversy. According to ESPN, the incident occurred on the 12th hole when Palmer hit a second ball after believing he was entitled to a drop after his initial ball was embedded but did not receive the proper ruling.
Ken Venturi, who was battling Palmer for the lead, believed Palmer improperly played the hole. Palmer would go on to win his first green jacket but the tournament remains a topic of discussion decades later.
Here’s a look at some rare footage from the 1958 Masters:
Palmer would win again in 1960. Palmer won his second Masters by hitting two straight birdies on the final two holes. Here’s a look at Palmer winning his second green jacket:
In 1961, Palmer double bogeyed on the final hole to miss his chance to win back-to-back tournaments. Palmer got redemption the following year after he forced a three-player playoff in which he was victorious. Here’s Palmer winning his third Masters:
Finally, Palmer won his fourth green jacket in 1964. It would be Palmer’s final victory at Augusta and end an impressive stretch of Masters victories. While his first three victories came down to the final holes, Palmer was able to cruise to victory in his last win at Augusta. Palmer had a five-shot lead heading into the final round.
”This is the most singularly exciting tournament for me ever. For once in my life, I planned to do something and did what I wanted,” Palmer told The Augusta Chronicle.
Watch highlights of Palmer’s fourth Masters victory:
Palmer passed away on September 25, 2016 but Augusta National has done its best to honor the legend throughout the 2017 Masters. There was this first tee tribute ceremony to start the tournament:
During the ceremony, Augusta National Chairman Billy Payne put out a lawn chair with a green jacket in Palmer’s honor.
“As he would walk to this very tee for this ceremony, we would point and shout above the cheers to our kids and grandkids. ‘Look, look. It’s Arnold Palmer.’ The kids would radiate smiles because they knew they were seeing a legend. And you know what? He would always smile back,” Payne said during the ceremony (via Golf.com).