456 days had passed before Arnie returned to the limelight at the 1st annual Heritage Classic
The Heritage Classic was first held in 1969 and won by none other than The King, Arnold Palmer. It didn’t come easy for Arnie… he was at the end of his career and his window was closing. It’s truly amazing how some players find the inspiration to win.
There have been great examples throughout history such as Ben Crenshaw‘s 1995 Masters win after his mentor Harvey Pennick passed? Or how about Ben Hogan’s willingness to get back on the golf course following his almost fatal car crash?
These moments are engraved into our hearts while the bearer of the memories seem to play with an other worldly sense.
Until the 1969 Heritage Classic, It had been 456 days exactly since the now 40 year old Arnold Palmer last won an event
This week Tiger Woods comes back after nearly a 14 month hiatus at the Hero World Challenge. Let’s face it, Tiger Woods is good for golf and so was Arnold Palmer when he secured his first win in nearly a year.
In fact, the last time Palmer won on the PGA Tour was September 1st, 1968 at the Kemper Open when he defeated Bruce Crampton & Art Wall Jr. by four strokes. It had been 456 days exactly since the now 40 year old Palmer last won. It was the longest drought of his career up to this point and many had written the aging star off.
Jack Nicklaus had a hand in designing this Harbour Town Links with Pete Dye. That meant this time Palmer had a chance to win on his rival’s course. Despite shooting a final round 74, Palmer was able to edge Dick Crawford & Bert Yancey. Palmer shot 68-71-70-74=283 to win the title by three strokes.
Arnold Palmer put Hilton Head on the Map
Hilton Head credits Arnold Palmer to putting them on the map, but did you know that Harbour Town links was in part designed by Jack Nicklaus? Nicklaus later quipped that he helped with maybe, “1 percent of the design”.
“If there is one thing I didn’t want this course to be,” Nicklaus told Charles Price in the November 25, 1969 issue of Golf World, “it was a course that appeared to have been designed for my game. For every long par-4 hole, there is a short one to offset it.”
The Heritage Classic is now known as the RBC Heritage Classic which is generally held a week after the Masters. In the first five years of the events history it was held in November.
It then briefly moved to September in 1973, before its moved to March in 1974, about two weeks before The Masters. In 1983, it finally was moved to April where it has been to this day.