ARTICLE: “The Great Debate: Who was Better – Chick Evans or Bobby Jones?”

By Bobby Greenwood, PGA. Published by Tee Times Magazine, Winter 2023 issue, pages 16 and 17.

It was interesting to meet such great people during my seven years on the PGA Tour. I will never forget my meeting with Charles “Chick” Evans at the Western Open at Olympia Fields Country Club in Chicago, Illinois. I was amazed at how kind and what a humble man he was.

Evans was the most acclaimed American amateur golfer of his time because he won the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open in the same year, a feat he achieved in 1916. He was the first person to accomplish this task and only Bobby Jones has done it since.

Evans won the U.S. Amateur again in 1920 and was runner-up three times. Selected to the Walker Cup team in 1922, 1924, and 1928, he competed in a record 50 consecutive U.S. Amateurs in his long career and he was low amateur in 6 U.S. Opens and won a record 8 Western Amateur titles. Evans achieved all of this while carrying only seven hickory-shafted clubs!

In comparing the two great amateur golfers, Bobby Jones and Chick Evans, perhaps we should also compare the golf equipment that each man used.

When Bobby Jones’ personal set of clubs was tested years later, the set was perfectly matched. All except his 8-iron which was slightly off. When informed of these findings, Jones stated, “I never did like that club so much.” He matched his set of golf clubs by feel as there were no swing weight machines available at that time.

In 1971, I played in the U.S. Open at historic Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Down the street from the club was George Izett’s Custom Club Company. One day, before the tournament started, David Graham and I decided to “get away” and visit the old golf club factory. David was an avid club collector and he enjoyed looking for the oil-hardened persimmon head McGregor woods.

I was interested in the Wilson R-90 wedges. When we went in the company, there was George Izett, the old clubmaker himself. He told us that during the 1924 U.S. Amateur, Bobby Jones came into his shop. Bobby was looking for a 4-wood. He gave Mr. Izett his specs and then said, “Make 25 of them.” So, that’s how Jones had matched the 14 golf clubs in his set… trial and error.

Years earlier, Chick Evans had won all his tournaments with 7 hickory-shafted clubs!

Chick Evans played his last rounds of competitive golf in 1968, winning the Illinois Open that year. After his retirement, he continued to attend events as a spectator and converse with the fans and players. I would always look forward to meeting with Chick Evans at the Western Open each year in Chicago, Illinois.

Chick Evans’ legacy involves more than tournament golf. His name is synonymous with the Western Golf Association, and the institution of the Evans Scholars Foundation. This idea was born after Evans won the Open and the Amateur in 1916. Evans said his mother “wouldn’t think of accepting my money unless we could arrange it to be trusted to furnish education for deserving caddies.” He also said his mother “pointed out that the money came from golf and thus should go back into golf. It was all her dream — her idea.”

Rather than turn professional, Evans decided to take the $5,000 offered to him and establish a golf scholarship fund for caddies. The Evans Scholarships was for caddies only. Since its founding, the Evans Scholars Foundation has invested more than $475 million in the college educations of more than 11,556 Alumni.

By the way, when I played the Tour in the 1970s, the Western Open and the Masters were the only two tournaments on Tour where players could only use the caddies supplied by the tournament; you could not bring your own caddy in those two events.

Like Evans, Jones was an amazing playing record who was one of the most influential figures in the history of the sport. He dominated top-level amateur competition, and also competed very successfully against the world’s best professional golfers.

Bobby Jones competed in golf only as an amateur, primarily on a part-time basis, and he qualified for his first U.S. Open at age 18 in 1920. Jones won the Southern Amateur three times: 1917, 1920, and 1922. He represented the United States in the Walker Cup five times and because of health reasons, chose to retire from competition at age 28! He played his last round of golf at East Lake Golf Club, his home course in Atlanta, on August 18, 1948.

As an adult, he hit his stride and won his first U.S. Open in 1923. Jones was the first player to win The Double, both the U.S. and British Open Championships in the same year in 1926. He was the second (and last) to win the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur in the same year in 1930, first accomplished in 1916 by Chick Evans.

Bobby Jones is most famous for his unique (pre-Masters) “Grand Slam”, the only player to achieve wins in all four major golf tournaments of his era (the open and amateur championships in both the United States and United Kingdom) in a single calendar year in 1930.

After retiring from competitive golf in 1930, and even in the years leading up to that, Jones had become one of the most famous sports figures in the world and was recognized virtually everywhere he went in public. He is the only sports figure to receive two ticker-tape parades in New York City!

Jones’ four titles in the U.S. Open remain tied for the most ever in that championship, along with Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus, and Willie Anderson. His five titles in the U.S. Amateur are a record. In 2000, Bobby Jones was ranked as the fourth greatest golfer of all time by Golf Digest magazine, behind Jack Nicklaus, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead third. In 2009, Bobby Jones was listed at No. 3 all time in a major survey published by Golf Magazine. Jack Nicklaus was No. 1, followed by Tiger Woods, Jones, Hogan, and Snead.

It is very difficult to compare players of another era because the game has changed so much. Here is another thought: what would Jack Nicklaus have done if he had the equipment that Tiger Woods played with? Hmmm.

• Chick Evans died on November 6, 1979 at age 89. He is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.
• Bobby Jones was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1974.
• David Graham won the PGA Championship in 1979 and the U.S. Open in 1981.
• Bobby Greenwood played on the PGA Tour from 1969 to 1975.

• Chick Evans with Bobby Greenwood at the 1975 Western Open, Butler National Golf Club, Oak Brook, Illinois.
• Bobby Greenwood on the 18th hole during the 1971 Western Open tourney @ Olympia Fields Country Club, PGA Tour, July 15, 1971. Photo by famed photographer, Bob Langer.

• Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, PGA.
• Photo collage credit:

“The Great Debate: Who was Better – Chick Evans or Bobby Jones?”
By: Bobby Greenwood, PGA
Published by: Tee Times Paper
Winter 2023 issue, pages 16 and 17.
Page 16:
Page 17:


Former PGA Tour Player
Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
PGA of America Life Member

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Published in: on February 22, 2023 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Bobby Greenwood presenting Aubrey King with Plaque of Recognition from Tennessee Section PGA of America

Bobby Greenwood presenting Aubrey King with Plaque of Recognition from Tennessee Section PGA of America

[EXCERPT from “King of Cumberland County Golf” article by Pauline Sherrer, Crossville-Chronicle publisher, Dec 10, 2011:

“Friends and family of Lake Tansi Golf Pro Aubrey King celebrated his 37-year career last week. King is preparing to retire from his post Dec. 23, 2011.

After nearly four decades of promoting Lake Tansi golf, teaching hundreds of youngsters the art of the game and arguably being one of the leaders in making Cumberland County the Golf Capital of Tennessee, golf pro Aubrey King is retiring.

PGA Tour player and past Tennessee Open Champion Bobby Greenwood presented King with a plaque that read, ‘The Tennessee Section of the PGA of America and its 425 golf professionals in Tennessee are proud to present you with this plaque in recognition of your distinguished career in the golf industry for 37 years and as a gifted teacher who had helped thousands of people be introduced to the great game of golf and who has helped golf pros and ranking amateurs alike.’

Greenwood told the crowd that even though King over the years had won many individual honors playing golf, it was the team events that Aubrey enjoyed the most.

‘The Lake Tansi team was the team to beat in Tennessee section events for several years,’ Greenwood noted.

Greenwood added that in his prime, King was considered the longest hitter in Tennessee, sending a ball 322 yards. On the original Lake Tansi Golf Course, one hole measured 695 yards and was named ‘Trail of Tears.’ Only two players ever reached the green in two shots — one was Doc Goss, legendary East Tennessee golfer and National Long Drive Champion — and the other Aubrey King.


“PGA Tour player and past Tennessee Open Champion Bobby Greenwood presented King a plaque on behalf of the Tennessee Section of the PGA in recognition of King’s distinguished career in the golf industry.”]

Sources & Photo Credit:

*Crossville-Chronicle <>

*Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood.

Former PGA Tour Player
Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
PGA of America Life Member

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Published in: on January 17, 2023 at 9:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Memories: “My Caddies”

Memories: “MY CADDIES”

From Bobby Greenwood, PGA:

“During my seven years playing the PGA Tour (1969-1975), I would usually just pick up someone at the tournament site to be my caddy, usually in the parking lot when I first arrived. My preference was a young college student that was strong and hopefully loved golf.

Back in the 1970s on the PGA Tour, caddies would be required to shag balls on the practice range. This could be a dangerous situation because there were always 30-45 players warming up for their round; sure enough, one day I noticed my caddy staggering around, he was out about 200 yards away. He had been hit!

Sometimes I would get an exceptionally good and knowledgeable caddy.

LARRY ADAMSON and I met at the Robinson Open in Illinois. Larry was a High School teacher and he coached the basketball team. Larry was a great guy and he loved golf. He later worked for the USGA and became their Director of Championships. After I left the Tour, I asked Larry to make an appearance at Suntree Country Club, Melbourne, Florida while I was Director of Golf. I introduced Larry to my membership (36-hole resort with 1,650 members at Suntree). He was very interesting and a huge success.

[EXCERPT from Suntree In Review article: “United States Golf Association official Larry Adamson shared his various experiences working with the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, Senior U.S. Open, and other USGA tournaments during a March 3 ‘cracker barrel’ session in the Cabana Room (at Suntree CC in Melbourne, Florida).

The cracker barrel sessions were started in February by Suntree golf pro Bobby Greenwood and are designed to provide ‘a night of fellowship for members to get together with the pros and enjoy each other’s company,’ Greenwood said.

Greenwood and Adamson are golf buddies and met ‘in 1970 when Larry was a high school basketball coach and teacher. He brought his high school team to caddy at a tournament I was playing in and when they needed an extra caddy, they asked Larry. So, he was assigned to me and that is how we started our friendship,’ Greenwood said.”

-Source: Suntree In Review, by Vicky Valley, Melbourne, FL, March 1990.]


GEORGE WATERHOUSE was another great caddy as a young boy and he followed the Tour and caddied for me for a couple of months. George later became a famous General Surgeon in Charlotte, North Carolina. I always knew that George would be a great man someday. George was a valued friend and supporter.

TOM McKENZIE caddied for me in the 1972 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, California. It’s a good thing I had an excellent caddy here because the conditions were tough to play, high winds, etc. Tom was older and smarter than me and he loved the Lord. He must have been praying because I was in 12th place after three rounds. I was paired with Masters Champ George Archer and British Open Champ Tony Jacklin in the final round. Tom McKenzie was a good friend in my time of need.

[EXCERPT from Tom McKenzie’s personal letter dated February 19, 2020: “I treasure memories of the US Open at Pebble Beach, nearly 48 years ago. I have been involved with Golf and Caddies since 1963. I can truly say that caddying for you at the US Open was my FAVORITE experience of all time. To make the cut, and be a part of the final round of the National Championship with you, a Christian influenced me forever!!!

You mentored me even from this distance and I love you for all the encouragement you continually provide.”]


JIM BASS was a professional caddy and I think we joined forces in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He was a character, very intelligent and a good sense of humor. Jim is now at the world-famous Kiawah Island Club in Kiawah Island, South Carolina. I still hear from these great guys from time to time. When I was inducted into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame in 2007, several of my closest friends showed up. One was Jim who had driven from South Carolina to Knoxville just to be there. Thanks Jim…

[EXCERPT from Jim Bass’ personal comment on a photo posted via Facebook dated January 10, 2010: “Bobby Greenwood’s induction into Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame. The first PGA Tour Player I ever caddied for. Magnolia Classic 1970 Hattiesburg, MS.”]


In the heat of the battle, you think back in wonder, how did I treat my caddies?

DON ANDERSON was a strong supporter and loyal friend as my caddy in the Tennessee Open. I really liked Don a lot and we had a serious man to man working relationship. I feel he helped me win the Tennessee State Open tournament.

[EXCERPT from Nashville Banner: “The winning team, caddy Don Anderson and player Bobby Greenwood at work in winning the Tennessee Golf Association Open championship at Old Hickory. The two met several years ago at McCabe and Anderson, a brick laborer by trade, has carried for Greenwood in this area ever since. The pair cake-walked to the championship Sunday with a five-under-par 67 and a 54-hole total 208, eight strokes better than the nearest contestant.”

-Source: Nashville Banner, “GREENWOOD, HELPED BY CADDY, EASY WINNER”, May 13, 1968.]


The late great BOBBY NICHOLS was my first caddy at the Cookeville Country Club when we were both teenagers. I helped Bobby with his game and he and I later played the Tour at the same time in the 1970s. Bobby also won the Tennessee Open and I picked him to play in the first Tennessee Challenge Cup Matches at Old Hickory Country Club in 1968. Bobby Nichols was a kind Christian man… I miss talking golf with him.

FREDDIE NELSON was one of my favorite caddies at the Cookeville Country Club. Freddie was the same sweet, soft-spoken gentleman that he is today as our current Putnam County Trustee. My grandmother, Viola Simrell Greenwood, would always be so happy when Freddie and Bobby Nichols would come home with me to eat some good home cooking at lunch time.

There was one caddy that was most important to the development of my golf game. His name was JERE MAXWELL. Jere was a local boy from Cookeville and we grew up together. Jere had a great sense of humor, and he kept me relaxed so I could play better. He was very loyal and smart and became one of my best friends.

Back in the 1950s and 1960s, Jere and I would hitchhike to tournaments in Tennessee, Kentucky and Alabama to play the ‘fried chicken circuit.’ We had great fun.

Jere Maxwell helped me with the most important part of playing competitive tournament golf… the mental game.

I shall look forward to seeing Jere and others in heaven someday soon.

Nowadays, playing golf on the PGA Tour is a team effort. You have a swing coach, a physical trainer, a psychological mind coach, a caddy, and hopefully a good supportive and loving wife. This is a difficult thing to put together… but don’t leave home without it! 🙂

Please let me say THANK YOU to ALL the Caddies that have caddied for me throughout all the years. Wish I had the mind to remember you all.”

*Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, August 20, 2020.

Former PGA Tour Player
Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
PGA of America Life Member

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Article: “Cookeville has five home-grown Pro golfers”

ARTICLE: “Cookeville has five home-grown Pro golfers”
Written by Aaron Keen, Sports Feature’s page 6, c. 1971

This article was written when Bobby Greenwood was in his 3rd year on the PGA Tour.

[EXCERPT from the Article written by Aaron Keen (revised edition):
Bobby Greenwood is a touring professional. He has been on the PGA tour for three years and his highest finish as a touring pro has been a tie for fourth in the Los Angeles Open. At one time as an amateur, Greenwood was the sixth ranked golfer in America one year. He won over 75 tourneys as an amateur and Bobby won 13 tournaments one year including six in a row. He was a First Team NCAA All-American his senior year at North Texas State.

PHOTO CAPTION from the article:
Cookeville proudly boasts of having five PGA golf professionals. Cookeville may be the only city its size to have five pro golfers. Aaron Keen talks about the five outstanding golfers in IT’S GAME TIME in today’s paper.

The golfers are, from left (correct designation):
RAY GENTRY, pro at Little Ocmulgee State Park in McRae, Georgia,
BOBBY GREENWOOD, PGA Tour Player, Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame,
BOBBY NICHOLS, Ironwood Golf Club pro in Cookeville and former tour member,
GILBERT JACKSON, pro at Woodmont Country Club in Nashville, and
HUBIE SMITH, former director of the World Open and now club pro at Concord Hotel Golf Club in New York.

All five got their start at Cookeville Golf Club and all five were born and reared in Cookeville. (Photos by Aaron Keen)]

By the way, the first golf team at Cookeville Central High School consisted of 4 players in 1956, namely:

The Cookeville golf team played the Algood High School golf team. The Algood team won the match by one stroke. Algood High School team consisted of BOBBY NICHOLS and 3 other caddies from Algood.

*Personal recollections of Bobby Greenwood, PGA. May 5, 2022.
*Aaron Keen, c. 1971. (Publishing newspaper unknown).
posted on Greenwood’s Facebook Page by admin: May 7, 2022

Former PGA Tour Player
Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
PGA of America Life Member

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Bobby Greenwood receives Distinguished Career Award from Tennessee Section of the PGA

Published by Crossville-Chronicle, March 9, 2010

 Bobby Greenwood, longtime golf professional and Cookeville native, received the Tennessee PGA Distinguished Career Award last week at the Golf House of Tennessee near Franklin, where the award was unveiled.

The Distinguised Career Award is the highest honor the Tennessee PGA can bestow upon a golf professional. It recognizes current or former Tennessee PGA Section members who have had outstanding careers as PGA Professionals based on service to their club, course or employer, service and leadership to the association, community service, professional playing record and teaching ability. The Distinguished Career Award acknowledges these Tennessee PGA Professionals as vital and significant contributors to the game of golf.

Greenwood and fellow  members of the Tennessee  Golf Hall of Fame – Pat Abbott, Cotton Berrier, Joe Campbell, Harold Elller, Gibby Gilbert, Lou Graham, Don Malarkey, Cary Middlecoff, Teddy Rhodes, Loren Roberts and Mason Rudolph, who were also received the Distinguished Service Award, according to Buddy Pearson of the Herald-Citizen.

Greenwood joins an elite group of only 26 other PGA Professionals who have received this honor.

Photo caption: Tennessee PGA president Hunt Gilliland, left, presents the Tennessee PGA’s Distinugished Career Award to former PGA Tour player Bobby Greenwood.

The Cookeville native was introduced to golf at the Cookeville Country Club at the age of 12, according to the Tennessee Section of the PGA.

After earning a three-time NCAA All-American career at North Texas State University, Greenwood was noted as one of the best amateurs in the country during the 1960s.

He was twice ranked in the Top 10 Amateur golfers in America by Golf Magazine. 

Greenwood won the 1966 Tennessee State Amateur and the 1968 Tennessee State Open, and played the PGA Tour from 1969 to 1975 carding six top 10s and fifteen top 25s, while also winning the 1970 Rhode Island Open while on the Tour. 

He played in two US Opens, eight Tennessee Cup Match Teams and currently is the President of his own golf course architectural firm in Cookeville. 

Greenwood is also a member of the University of North Texas Sports Hall of Fame, Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame and Riverside Military Centennial All-Sports Hall of Fame.

Greenwood was one of fifteen past and current recipients who were on hand for this special unveiling in Franklin, Tennessee in front of their fellow Tennessee PGA Professionals and special guests.

 Photo caption:  There was a special greeting of two old PGA Tour players, Mason Rudolph, left, and Bobby Greenwood at Golf House of Tennessee last week, when Greenwood received his Distinguished Career Award.


Published in: on March 29, 2010 at 9:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Greenwood to be awarded the 2010 Distinguished Career Award

The Tennessee PGA has just notified Bobby that he will retroactively be awarded the TN PGA Distinguished Career Award along with the other Former PGA Tour players; Mason Rudolph, Lou Graham, Gibby Gilbert, Joe Campbell and Loren Roberts.

The Distinguished Career Award presentation will take place on Sunday, February 28th and March 1st, 2010 at the TN PGA annual meeting.

Congratulations Bobby!

Published in: on October 28, 2009 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Flash Report: Greenwood to be inducted into the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame!

Golfers drive to Hall

The Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame has four new members. Former PGA Tour golfer Bobby Greenwood of Cookeville is a new inductee. Also, longtime amateur and PGA Tour golfer Joe Campbell, who made his home in Knoxville but now lives in Indiana, joins Cleveland native Connie Day, long recognized as one of the state’s top amateurs.  Ann Baker Furrow, who competed on the men’s team at Tennessee in 1964 and 1965, will be inducted. She was a five-time Tennessee Women’s Amateur champion and placed second in the 1962 USGA Amateur Championship.

Published in: on February 26, 2007 at 10:37 am  Leave a Comment  

Past State Amateur Results

From Golf House Tennessee Website: 

1966 – Chickasaw Country Club 
Bobby Greenwood, Cookeville vs. 
Bob Lundy, Memphis 
(Greenwood, 10 & 8 )

 1963 – Jackson Country Club 
Bert Greene, Knoxville vs. 
Bobby Greenwood, Cookeville 
(Greene, 4 & 3) 

1962 – Chattanooga Golf & CC 
Lew Oehmig, Chattanooga vs. 
Bobby Greenwood, Cookeville 
(Oehmig, 19th hole)

Published in: on February 22, 2007 at 3:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Past State Open Results

From Golf House Tennessee Website: 

1968 – Old Hickory Country Club 
Bobby Greenwood, Cookeville 208
Lew Conner, Nashville 216
Marty Graham, Jr, Nashville 216

Published in: on February 22, 2007 at 3:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Excerpts from the History of Tennessee Golf: 1894-2001

(Notes in parenthesis are personal notes from Bobby Greenwood, October 2003)

“Bobby Greenwood played the PGA Tour for seven years. His record as a tour player is pale in comparison to other Tennesseans, but he ranks as one of the Volunteer State’s great amateur players.

In the1960s, there was NO BETTER AMATEUR PLAYER in Tennessee and HE WAS ONE OF THE BEST AMATEURS IN AMERICA!  During the 1960s, he earned All-America honors at North Texas State University and was ranked among the national’s Top 10 amateurs by Golf Magazine twice.  He won the 1966 State Amateur and the 1968 State Open before turning pro.  He was the third of eight to complete this double.  (Bobby also won the Rhode Island Open while he was on the PGA Tour.)

Greenwood started playing golf at Cookeville Country Club at the age of twelve.  “I was hanging around the club and Mason Rudolph came to Cookeville to play in a junior tournament,” Greenwood remembered.  “I listened to the members brag on Mason Rudolph.  I was probably the worst junior player there’s ever been.  That may be why I became a good teacher.  When I was seventeen I finally became a pretty good player and started playing what we called the ‘fried chicken circuit,’ in Tennessee, Alabama, and Kentucky.  After Lou Graham was gone, I won thirteen tournaments in one season.” ( *Note: fried chicken circuit means one day medal tournament, per Bobby Greenwood, October 27, 2003.)

Greenwood graduated from Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, Georgia, in 1957 and played golf at Tennessee Tech (University in Cookeville, Tennessee) his freshman year.  He had aspirations of playing golf at a major college, but got no scholarship offers.  After his freshman year, he called coach Herb Farrell at North Texas State (University in Denton, Texas). “I told him how many tournaments I had won, that my scoring average was 70.3 and he seemed fairly impressed,’ Greenwood said.  “I knew I could make their team.  I went on the train (to Texas) with the understanding that if I made the team he would help me with a scholarship.  I got a room in a boarding house and dug the basement for the music building to make ends meet that first year.”

Greenwood quickly found out playing golf in Texas was not the same as playing golf in Middle Tennessee.  “It was the first time I ever played in the wind,” he said.  “I could win tournaments in Tennessee hitting a high soft fade. (But in the Texas wind) I couldn’t break eighty.  All those guys on the team wanted me to play, but I (instead), hit golf balls until finally figured out how to hit the ball low enough to play in the wind.  My left ear about filled up with sand.  The answer was take two clubs more and hit it easy.  When they held the first team tournament, I won it.  Then they had a match play tournament and I beat Rives McBee, who was the captain of the team (in the finals).  No one ever had beat Rives on the North Texas State course.”

Greenwood may have worked to make ends meet while at North Texas State, but admits he was fortunate to get the opportunity to play big-time amateur golf.  Today it is very expensive to play a full schedule of amateur tournaments.  In the 1960s it was easier financially, but still beyond most family budgets.  Greenwood’s father and grandfather were successful Cookeville businessmen and enabled Bobby to travel and play in the biggest and best amateur tournaments in the country.  “Jerry Maxwell was my caddie and we used to hitchhike to these tournaments (fried chicken circuits),” Greenwood said.  “I never needed a lot of money.  All I did was play ball or golf, but I was very blessed.  They gave me the opportunity to travel to the big tournaments.  At tournaments like the Sunnehanna I would be usually be put up in people’s homes.”  Staying in the home of a club member was a custom of the day during Greenwood’s amateur days.

GREENWOOD PLAYED IN ALL THE BIG TOURNAMENTS – U.S. Amateur, Western, Southern, Eastern, Trans-Miss, (North-South), Sunnehanna, and the Colonial at Memphis, one of the biggest amateur events in the country.  His schedule included the college tournaments and the in-state events, too.

At the 1964 Southern Amateur at Lost Tree in North Palm Beach, Florida, he shot an eight-under par 64 to set a course record.  The Sunnehanna Amateur is a Tournament of Champions.  Only the world’s finest amateurs are invited to play in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  Don’t plan on getting invited unless you are a nationally ranked player, an All-America selection, a winner of a major amateur tournament, a Walker Cup member, or a defending state amateur or open champion.  Greenwood won the prestigious Sunnehanna in 1965 and 1968.  He is one of the only seven multiple winners.  Tiger Woods played in two Sunnehannas, but he never won one.  In 1965, Greenwood won the event by five strokes.  His eleven-under par 269 wiped out the 273 mark set by Gene Dahlbender of Atlanta in 1960.  He did it the hard way.  For two days he sat on the sidelines during practice rounds, waiting for his clubs to arrive.  Just before round one he borrowed woods, irons, and a putter and shot 70.  (*Per Bobby Greenwood’s account to Elma Greenwood: “I borrowed the clubs from the Green Superintendent, and I had to borrow golf shoes from a gracious member, and I purchased a cap from the Pro Shop. My clubs arrived from the airport for the second round but I kept the borrowed putter and shot 63.” – October 27, 2003).  (He followed the 63 up with rounds of 70 and 66).  He had described his game as “not good.”  He had just come off active duty with the National Guard and had lost twelve pounds and was down to 140.  Ardent Sunnehanna followers were convinced Greenwood’s 269 would stand forever.  It took twenty-seven years before Allen Doyle of LaGrange, Georgia, shot 266.  Greenwood’s 63 (still stands as the 18 hole course record!).  In 1964, Greenwood and Vinny Giles of Richmond, Virginia, were co-medalists in the 1964 U.S. Amateur at Canterbury Golf Club in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Greenwood beat Dave Eichelberger 7-5 in the second round. And, after a heated match, Bobby beat Billy Joe Patton 3-2 in the 3rd round). In 1963, Bill Campbell bested him in the fourth round.  In 1965, the Amateur was contested at stroke play and Greenwood finished in a tie for nineteenth.

In the summer of 1961, Jack Nicklaus was in Memphis defending his Colonial Invitational title.  He lost to Greenwood, who eagled the eighteenth hole and birdied the first extra hole for the victory.  Greenwood lost in the finals to Dick Crawford, 4 and 3.  It was the last match Nicklaus lost as an amateur.  (That same year), In September at Pebble Beach, Nicklaus won his second U.S. Amateur and then in June of 1962 at Oakmont he won his first U.S. Open.  In Nicklaus’s book, My 55 Ways To Lower Your Golf Score,  the Golden Bear used the loss to Greenwood to illustrate how a golfer must not disregard percentages when determining how to play a shot during a match.

Greenwood broke his wrist playing church league basketball before winning the State Open in 1968.  The injury delayed his turning professional.  In the fall of 1969, he tied Johnny Miller for third in the PGA Tour’s qualifying school.  This was in the days when qualifying gave a player the opportunity to join Monday’s rabbits seeking berth in the tournament proper.  From 1969 through 1975, Bobby played the PGA Tour.  He made seventy-two cuts, six Top 10s, fifteen Top 25s, and $50,929 in official money.  At the 1971 Los Angeles Open, he led after fifty-four holes with rounds of 69-69-66.  He held a three-shot lead, but shot 73 the last round.  (His two-way tie for fourth with Lee Trevino) was his best finish on the tour.

Greenwood has been involved in the golf business his entire life.  His career has spanned almost every facet of the industry.  His credits includes being the director of golf at Sawgrass Country Club, the home of the Tournament players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida; a design coordinator for Golden Bear International, Jack Nicklaus’s golf course design firm; president of his own golf course architectural firm and designer with (Greenwood-Tucker) of Fairfield Glade’s Dorchester course; editor-in-chief of one of Tennessee’s first golf publication, Nifty Knicker; and a partner in a golf school operation and a discount golf shop.

In 1964, Greenwood played in the Texas Cup matches.  The Tennessee Cup Matches were started in 1968 by Tennessee PGA Section president Hubert Smith and Nashville businessman John Deal, a great amateur player who was a member at Old Hickory and Richland and a director of the Tennessee Golf Association.  Bobby planted the seed for the event with Hubie, but it took four years for it to bloom.  Greenwood said:

  “I was to play Byron Nelson, who was the captain of the pro team, which was made up of all tour players, I thought he was old and couldn’t play much, but his scores were posted in the locker room and there wasn’t anything except 68s and 69s.  We were playing at Brook Hollow in Dallas, a great golf course.  I’ve played against a lot of great players, including Bill (Billy Joe Patton) Patton, Bill Hyndman, and Jack Nicklaus, but Byron Nelson, even at his older age, was the most intense player I ever played against.  I beat him by making a birdie on the eighteenth hole for a 67 and he shot 68.  When I played the tour later I had an occasion to meet him several times.  He would never remember who I was, I think it was his way of completely putting the defeat out of his mind.”

Greenwood discussed his friend and teacher Hubie Smith, golf pro at Cookeville Country Club where Bobby played as a youngster.

  “Hubie was my mentor, but we were also competitors and Hubie hates to lose.  I tell him about playing in the Texas Cup matches against guys like Don January, Billy Maxwell, and Byron Nelson and give him all of the details of how it was done.  We worked on the format and he asked me to pick the East Tennessee amateurs.  He said we were going to have twenty on a team.  I thought that would cheapen the event.  Texas has ten and we have twenty!  A few nights later he called me back and asked me to pick the entire team.  Whoever was supposed to pick the rest of the team got cold feet.  Because of politics they didn’t want to make the other picks.  I’m only twenty-six years old, but Hubie asks me to pick the entire team.  I played Mason Rudolph and Mason beat me, but our Amateur team won.”

** Source:  The History of Tennessee Golf: 1894 – 2001, Copyright 2002 by Gene Pearce, Hillsboro Press, Franklin, Tennessee,  pages 270-273.  Copied by Bobby and Elma Greenwood, Cookeville, Tennessee, October 27, 2003.

Former PGA Tour Player
Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame
PGA of America Life Member

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Published in: on August 23, 2006 at 2:10 am  Comments (1)  
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