Palmer statue unveiled at Laurel Valley

September 12, 2009

If there was a highlight to Arnold Palmer's celebration tour marking his 80th birthday, pack rats might pick Arnold Palmer Bobblehead Night at PNC Park on Oct. 8 in Pittsburgh, but the purists would opt for the golf outing and dinner for the King the following night at Laurel Valley GC in Ligonier, Pa., not far from Palmer's hometown of Latrobe.

The golf outing featured the unveiling of a life-sized bronze statue of Palmer. CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz hosted the evening dinner at Laurel Valley, which turned into a highly emotional affair as many fellow players and close friends shared their stories about the man of honor. Among the fellow pros in attendance were John Cook, Billy Andrade, Brad Faxon, Peter Jacobsen and longtime friend Dow Finsterwald.

Nantz pulled a fast one as the program got underway, asking all in attendance to turn off their cell phones. On cue, his phone rang, and he handed it to Palmer, who received birthday wishes from former President George H.W. Bush.

-- Dave Shedloski