October 21 2013
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
Webb Simpson's victory Sunday at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open was the latest in a long list of wins by pros who played collegiately at Wake Forest.
Two days earlier, the university had honored the man who started that tradition, Arnold Palmer, with the dedication of a massive bronze statue at the golf complex on campus. Simpson attended Wake Forest on the Arnold Palmer Scholarship.
Friday's unveiling was part of Homecoming Weekend -- and Palmer was at the center of the festivities. Earlier on Friday he climbed in a golf cart and delivered the 5 millionth Meal on Wheels on behalf of Senior Services to a woman in Forsyth County, who, like Palmer, is 84 years old.
Palmer's mode of transportation was a bit different on Saturday when he hopped on a motorcyle driven by the Demon Deacon mascot. The two led the Wake Forest football team onto the field in advance of the Deac's 34-10 win over Maryland.
The statue, which was created by Bruce Wolfe, is an imposing one that stands 9 feet -- although the height to the tip of the golf club is 12 feet, 9 inches -- and weighs 1,392 pounds. Wolfe began working on the statue in California nearly two years ago after taking more than 100 photos of Palmer. Wolfe spent more than 250 hours in the initial phase of the project, then eight more months developing the clay model.
That mold was then taken to a foundry in New York where another nine months were invested into the casting and finishing process. According to Wake Forest, the statue traveled more than 4,200 miles from concept to delivery.
Wolfe asked for the statue to be installed facing south to allow sunlight to play on Palmer's face throughout the day.
Joining Palmer for the unveiling were long-time Wake coach Jesse Haddock and the current head coach, Jerry Haas, whose brother Jay is a Champions Tour stalwart and three-time Presidents Cup assistant, and nephew Bill is a former FedExCup champ. All three members of the Haas family played at Wake Forest.