However, amidst the celebration, something – rather, someone - was missing.
Capturing Arnold Palmer’s energy and essence, a 13-foot bronze statue of the late Mr. Palmer was unveiled the week of the tournament. The statue is a replica of one that stands at Wake Forest University, Palmer’s alma mater. Weighing 1,392 pounds, the statue depicts Mr. Palmer as he finishes a powerful swing. Mr. Palmer’s statue stood tall during each round of play, connecting players and fans alike.
Although Leishman is the first winner of the tournament to not receive a congratulatory handshake from the tournament host, members of Arnold Palmer’s family, as well as Arnold Palmer Medical Center physicians, patents and families, helped to present the trophy to this year’s winner. In addition, Marc received a red alpaca cardigan sweater, like one Arnold often wore, the new symbol of victory at Bay Hill.
“It’s obviously a very special week,” said Leishman, 33. “Mr. Palmer was an awesome guy who I was lucky enough to meet a few times at this tournament. To honor him is huge. Another reason why it’s so special this week is this is the first time I’ve won a tournament with my family here. So, to have my wife, Audrey, and the boys here … it just all came together.”
When asked about the special meaning behind the tournament’s tagline – A Life Well Played – Marc shared his personal feelings. “I feel like you can be a good dad, good husband, good person, and play some good golf along the way,” he added. “How highly Mr. Palmer’s family speaks of him, he's so genuine. So that's what it means to me and that's how I try to live my life is to be known as a great person who played good golf, not to be known as a golfer who was a decent player.”
Arnie would be proud.