who had taken over the golf coaching chores, "Coach everybody else,
but don't coach Palmer." In his four-year career in college Palmer won
the NCAA championship twice, the Southern Conference title twice,
one ACC crown, and the Southern Intercollegiate and the National
Amateur titles. In the four years he was defeated only three times, and
his college average for eighteen holes was 69.3 strokes.
While an account of Palmer's subsequent brilliant career as a
professional is not within the scope of this work, it is worth noting
that when he won the Masters Tournament in Augusta on April, 1958,
the above-mentioned Billy Joe Patton won the Masters amateur
championship. (Four years earlier, Patton had electrified the golf
world by leading the entire Masters field at the end of thirty-six holes.
He fired a hole-in-one in the fourth round and barely lost out to Ben
Hogan and Sammy Snead, who tied at 289, beating him by a single
Palmer won every tournament worth playing, at home and abroad,
and his cheerful demeanor and winning smile made him a gallery
favorite. For years he had his own personal claque, a throng of
devoted fans who came to be known as "Arnie's Army." In 1961, with
a thousand dollars of his own money and a thousand from the
Western Pennsylvania Golf Association, Palmer established the
Buddy Worsham Memorial Scholarship Fund at Wake Forest. The
Board of Trustees added two thousand, and Palmer increased the
principal by playing benefit matches, sometimes with Patton. Over the
years the fund provided financial aid to many talented young golfers.
Wake Forest won its first ACC team golf championship in 1955.
John Gerring took individual ACC honors in 1957, and Ronny
Thomas won the title in both 1959 and 1960. It was in 196o that Jesse
Haddock, who had been associated with Wake Forest athletics for ten
years, was made golf coach. Haddock, himself a left-handed golfer,
began to build, attracting excellent young players through the
Worsham fund and the Palmer mystique. It took him a while, but
Haddock was to establish Wake Forest golf as competitive with the
very best. Gerring and Thomas were All-Americans in their years of
ACC mastery, and both Ken Folkes and Jay Sigel were honored in
1963, with Sigel repeating in 1964.
By 1967 Wake Forest was also competitive in tennis, with Coach
Previous Page Next Page