The 2017 Arnold Palmer Invitational will be the first time the Orlando event has been played since Mr. Palmer passed away in September 2016 at the age of 87. As part of the tournament's celebration of Mr. Palmer's life, career and legacy, tournament organizers and Orange County have unveiled a pair of remembrances that will live on as an acknowledgement of what Palmer accomplished as a golfer and philanthropist.
On Saturday at Palmer's Bay Hill Club and Lodge, a 13-foot statue of Arnold Palmer was unveiled ahead of tournament week. The statue sits between the first and 10th tees, where players will begin their rounds in the PGA Tour event. Tournament presenting sponsor Mastercard paid for the production, shipping and setup costs of the 1,392-pound bronze statue, which will be permanently on display at the club.
The statue is a replica of one found at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, where Palmer went to college. Per the Orlando Sentinel, the original statue took eight months for sculptor Bruce Wolfe to complete, and it remains outside of the Arnold Palmer Golf Complex at the university.
In addition, Orange County has officially renamed the 408 East West Expressway as the "Arnold Palmer Expressway" in Palmer's memory. Orange County major Teresa Jacobs made the announcement as part of the statue unveiling on March 11.