SI Vault
Alfred Wright
April 20, 1964
He said it was his greatest triumph, and when he achieved it late last Sunday afternoon, becoming the first man ever to win the Masters championship four times, there was no reason to doubt Arnold Palmer's assessment of his feat. Months without a victory on the tour, he had heard increasing talk that his career was in eclipse, that he could no longer summon forth the intensity of will and concentration required to win a major title. His answer was a show of majestic golf in the event he treasures most. He led, in effect, from the first tee shot to the last putt—a birdie putt, of course. He won by six strokes, and his 276 total was the second best score in the tournament's history. His attack on the course was beautifully planned and perfectly executed. So overwhelming was his performance that the impact of it seemed strangely muted. It was a four-day sports conquest best savored day by day as it developed to the seemingly inevitable climax that left Arnie once again the Masters' master.
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April 20, 1964

A Master To Top Them All

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"I didn't start out playing too well at the beginning of the year. I don't want to blame it on any one thing, but it was a great mental and psychological block for me when I quit smoking a couple of months ago. I've licked that now, and I came to this tournament with a great many things depending on it.

"When I got here I felt as great as I have in years. I was hitting the ball solidly, and I felt that from tee to green I was O.K. But on the green I wasn't so sure. When you go from one tournament to another, no matter how well you are hitting the ball, you are never too sure about your putting. It's sort of like checking out a plane with new sparkplugs. You're not sure whether they will all work.

"After the first round here my putting was good, and I felt a little confidence. After the second round I felt better yet, but I was still not sure. I was looking forward to playing now, and I was a little more certain of what I could do. Now, after the four rounds, I really feel like playing."

Whatever this bodes for the future, and his opponents hesitate to think, Arnold Palmer has every reason to be proud of his memorable performance at Augusta. Though he does not know it, he even did his wife a special favor. As she watched Arnie walk up 18 on Friday he was five strokes ahead of the field. She noted that she had never been able to get through the crowd to see Arnie sink the winning putt at a Masters. "Wouldn't it be nice," she said, "if he had a five-stroke lead when we were walking up 18 on Sunday? Then I wouldn't even have to care about what was happening on the green." Sunday afternoon a grinning Arnie came up 18 with a five-stroke lead, and Winnie didn't have a worry in the world.

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