Arnold Palmer was perfect at the Ryder Cup

Arnold Palmer (fourth from right) had a bright future ahead of him when he made his first Ryder Cup team in 1961. AP Photo

Arnold Palmer’s Ryder Cup career was one of perfection.

Palmer competed in six Ryder Cups and was on the winning side of all six. He holds the record for most overall matches won (22 out of 32). His 12 unbeaten matches from 1965 to 1971 is tied for the most by a player from either team and is the most by a United States player. He’s one of five U.S. players to record at least five points in a single Ryder Cup.

Palmer and Gardner Dickinson is the most successful Ryder Cup partner ship in United States history (5-0, five points).

As Palmer noted on his website: “I loved the Ryder Cup because it simply wasn’t about playing for money. It was about playing for something far grander and more personal.”

A quick snapshot of his year-by-year performance:


In Palmer’s debut, he went 2-0-1 for 2½ points. The United States won handily, 14½ to 9½, with Billy Casper, Mike Souchak and Art Wall each contributing three points.


This one was a rout. The United States won 23-9, with Palmer going 4-2, including 2-0 in Four-Ball competition. Casper and Dow Finsterwald led the United States with 4½ points.


The United States had a small lead, but finished strong in singles to win 19½ to 12½. Palmer was 4-2, winning 3 and 2 over Jimmy Hitchock and 2 Up over Peter Butler on the final day of completion.


The United States posted its largest win, 23½ to 8½. Palmer was 5-0, with wins of 3 and 2 over Tony Jacklin and 5 and 3 over Brian Huglett on the final day.


Palmer went 4-1-1 in an 18½ to 13½ victory. That included a teaming up with Jack Nicklaus in a 1-up win over Peter Townsend and Harry Bannerman.


In Palmer’s final Ryder Cup, he went an unmemorable 2-3, winning once in Foursome and Four-Balls. But the United States came from from a 5½ to 2½ disadvantage early to win, 19-13.