On this day, In 1966 Arnold Palmer played through a cold,
50-mile an hour gusts to win the playoff of the Tournament of Champions golf competition by four strokes. Despite the unfavorable conditions, Palmer scored a three under-par 69 against Gay Brewer, with whom he tied at 283 in the third round.
This was Palmers third time winning the Tournament of Champions and the 45th of his career. He received $20,000 out of the $100,000 purse with Brewer getting $12,000. Brewer had been on the wrong side of luck the prior two weeks. Just the Monday before losing to Palmer, he lost to Jack Nicklaus in a playoff at the 1966 Masters.
The golf world has just started to adapt to life without Arnold Palmer. It’s a sobering transition, but something we must do whenever a major figure passes away. Yet, we’ve never had to make a passage into the void as we are doing with a transformational personality such as Palmer’s, who was front and center of the golf stage for more than 60 years.
This was the last Tournament of Champions to be held at the Desert Inn Country Club near Las Vegas. Other venues that have hosted the Tournament of Champions are the Stardust Country Club, also in Las Vegas, in 1967 and 1968. For the following thirty years, it was played at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California; it moved from May in 1985 to January in 1986, and relocated to in 1999.
Present day, the Tournament of Champions is held during the first week of January and, since 1999, has been played over the Plantation Course at the Kapalua Resort near Lahaina on the island of Maui in Hawaii.