1965: Arnold Palmer wins the Tournament of Champions over Chi Chi Rodriguez by 2 strokes


Palmer wins The Tournament of Champions

On this day, In 1965 Arnold Palmer was still in fine form winning his 45th event at The Tournament of Champions.  It would be his second title taken in this event in the past three years and he would defend his title a year later in 1966.  This is what some golf fans consider Palmer’s first winning drought, as he only won once since his 1964 Masters triumph.  This was essentially his first win in 20 tour events dating back to May of 1964.

Palmer finished the 1965 Tournament of Champions with a final round of 71, for a total of 277 which gave him a victory by two strokes.  Chi Chi Rodriguez had the best chance to catch Palmer, by getting birdies on his last four holes.

Arnie said to Chi Chi after he finished,

“You finished quick…” and Chi Chi replied, “Hey, you taught me!”

Palmers friend/foe Jack Nicklaus wasn’t even close to contending with a laundry list of problems, as he shot a 78 on the final day.

  • Nicklaus hit a spectator which his second shot from the rough on the first hole.
  • On the 4th green, Nicklaus backed away from his ball twice before putting, saying, “I can’t keep my eyes from watering.” Then he three-putted.
  • On the 13th green, Nicklaus’ hat flew off in front of his face while making a stroke… he three-putted there also.

The attendance set a record for the events 12 year run, counting 38,015 spectators for the four days.  It was noted that 11,275 were there on the final day at the Desert Inn Country Club.

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