340 THE HISTORY OF WAKE FOREST COLLEGE
some excellent players and some solid teams, but the glory of 1955
was never matched again.
To speak of golf during the period under study is to summon forth
the most magical name in Wake Forest athletic history: Arnold
Palmer. As a matter of historical accuracy, it must be said that Palmer
did not choose Wake Forest; his close friend, Maryin C. "Buddy"
Worsham, brother of professional golfer Lew Worsham, did. Buddy
Worsham had been accepted at Wake Forest, and he called Athletic
Director Jim Weaver, who was also the golf coach of record, and
asked if he could bring Arnold Palmer along. Weaver recalled that he
asked, "Can he play golf?" and Worsham replied, "He's better than I
Up until that time Wake Forest players had been patsies on the
college golf circuit, with the notable exception of Billy Joe Patton, a
1943 graduate who could beat anybody around. But usually the Wake
Forest team had fared poorly, and Weaver used to recall a time in
Georgia when a tournament director, short of help, asked him whether
he would mind letting the Wake Forest boys help out as caddies.
The spring of 1948 changed all that. With Palmer and Worsham in
the lead, the charged-up Deacons won their first match, against
Michigan, 22-5. Palmer was medalist at sixty-seven and Worsham
came in at sixty-eight. In May Palmer won the Southern Conference
championship, and the team came in second to Duke, which had
traditionally had a strong golf team.
For Palmer and Worsham college golf was a romp. They played
together, roomed together, and won together. And then the one thing
that would part them happened. On the night of October 22, 19so,
Worsham, then a twenty-year-old senior, and Gene Scheer, a
nineteen-year-old sophomore basketball player, were returning to the
campus from a homecoming dance in Durham. Their car struck the
narrow Neuse River bridge at the bottom of a hill nine miles west of
Wake Forest, and both were killed. The tragedy shook the student
body, and Palmer felt a particularly sharp loss. Jim Weaver spoke
simply at a memorial service: "Neither was a Hercules, but both had
the courage of a David."
Palmer played the three years 1948-50 at Wake Forest, then entered
the coast guard and returned in the spring of 1954 to play out his
eligibility. Upon his return Weaver told "Bones" McKinney,