It was a milestone season for golf in 1966. Jack Nicklaus won The Masters that April and then captured his first Open Championship in July, making him only the fourth player in history to take all four professional majors in his career.
In between those tourneys, Billy Casper staged one of the greatest U.S. Open charges ever when he came back from seven shots down in the final round of regulation play to tie Arnold Palmer – and then beat him in a playoff the following day.
That year also saw Lionel Hebert prevail in the Florida Citrus Open at the Rio Pinar Country Club outside Orlando, Fla., and in many ways, his triumph at the inaugural playing of what is known today as the Arnold Palmer Invitational was as significant as any other that year. Not for Hebert’s play, good as it might have been, or because of the stature of the event. But rather, it was due to the newly minted Ping Anser putter he used.
His triumph represented the first tour victory for the futurist-looking flat stick, which was designed by a goateed Norwegian native named Karsten Solheim. And it marked the beginning of a half-century of domination in professional golf, with Ping Ansers capturing more than 500 tour wins in the years that followed and variations of that design from different clubmakers being as successful.