As a giant Oor Wullie statue goes on display at Carnoustie’s golf links in a bid to celebrate the Open and raise money for the Archie Foundation, Gayle finds out more
Jings, crivens, help ma boab – a giant Oor Wullie statue is teeing off at the Open!
The DC Thomson icon has been restyled as Grand Slam Wullie in homage to American golf legend Ben Hogan who won the event at Carnoustie 65 years ago.
The seven-foot model – sporting a golf bag with five original clubs from the 1930s, homemade Claret Jug and hat worn at a jaunty angle – was installed outside the Carnoustie Golf Hotel course leading to the first tee on Friday, ahead of the Open teeing off this week.
The statue, which has been gifted to the Archie Foundation, will be signed by professional golfers before being auctioned to raise money for the charity.
The original commission for Grand Slam Wullie came from the R&A.
Talented DC Thomson artist, and current illustrator of the Oor Wullie comic, Peter Davidson was tasked with creating a small-scale clay maquette of the giant statue.
The enlarged sculpture was produced by a specialist company with Peter adding the final touches.
“I wanted to give Grand Slam Wullie a 1950s look – a little boy with scruffy old clubs,” said Peter.
“He has five original clubs in his bag from the 1930s – Paw’s old clubs.
“In the early discussion with the R&A we thought it would be good for him to hold his own homemade Claret Jug with a sink plunger base – his version of the famous Open trophy.
“His name is stuck on the front and the big hat worn at a jaunty angle was important to the overall look.
“The fact that the Open is at Carnoustie this year, where Ben Hogan won all those years ago, was also part of the thinking. I hope it makes people smile when they see him.”
Peter, who has been a commercial artist for more than 50 years and currently draws The Broons, Oor Wullie and Wee Harry for the Sunday Post, hopes players and former Open champions will autograph the special statue’s sleeves before it is auctioned off.
In 2016, DC Thomson’s Oor
Wullie Bucket Trail raised £883,000 for the Archie Foundation’s bid to
place a specialist unit at Tayside Children’s Hospital at Ninewells inDundee.
Peter designed and created one of the 70 Wullie sculptures on the trail, titled Oor Original, or Classic Oor Wullie.
He teamed up with artist Suzanne Scott for the painting of the sculpture, with Peter adding the finer details of Wullie’s face and clothes.
The charity hopes the new statue could help raise the £2m required for a new children’s theatre suite.
Chief executive of the Archie Foundation David Wood said: “We’re very grateful to Peter for designing Grand Slam Wullie, and to the R&A and Carnoustie Golf Hotel for allowing us to display him here while the Open is on.
“We’re getting ever closer to our £2m goal for helping create a children’s theatre suite at Ninewells.
“With the signatures of some of the best golf players in the world on it, the statue could help us reach our target and help make experience of having an operation the best it can possible be for thousands of local children every year.”
Meanwhile, Peter and Grand Slam Wullie are set to be the subject of a feature on USA-based NBC Golf Channel which will play during the Open.