Greenwood earns Distinguished Career Award


March 2, 2010    Cookeville, Tennessee


Greenwood earns Distinguished Career Award

Buddy Pearson

Herald-Citizen Managing Editor
Tuesday, Mar 02, 2010
PHOTO CAPTION: Cookeville golfing legend Bobby Greenwood looks at the replica of the late Bobby Nichols Distinguished Service Award at Golf House of Tennessee. Greenwood was honored with the Tennessee PGA Distinguished Career Award Sunday, one year after his good friend Nichols was honored with the award.
FRANKLIN — Bobby Greenwood won enough trophies and plaques during his competitive golfing days to fill a house. A member of three different halls of fame, Greenwood can add another honor to his long list of accolades. The Cookeville native and former PGA Tour player has received the Tennessee PGA Distinguished Career Award. Greenwood was recognized on Sunday night at Golf House of Tennessee where the new permanent Distinguished Career Award display was unveiled.

“It’s just another award that I don’t feel like I deserve,” said the humble Greenwood. “To be a part of this display and all the history here, it’s beyond your wildest dreams.”

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.

A member of the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame, Greenwood was recognized along with fellow Hall of Famers 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 receiving the Distinguished Career Award.

“It was great to see Mason Rudolph and see him looking so healthy,” Greenwood said. “It’s amazing to see some of these guys and to be recognized along with them.”

Greenwood joins an elite group of only 26 other PGA Professionals who have received this honor. Among those is the late Bobby Nichols, who passed away almost two years ago. As a long-time PGA Professional and owner of Ironwood, Nichols mentored many of the state’s PGA Professionals while he served more than 30 years as the head coach of the TTU golf programs.

As a player, Nichols won more than 100 tournaments, including the 1992 Tennessee State Open as well as the 1994, 1996 and 1997 Tennessee Senior Opens. He qualified and played in 21 PGA Club Professional Championships and two U.S. Senior Open Championships. Nichols also qualified for every Tennessee PGA Cup Match Team from its inception in 1968 to 2007, serving as team captain four times. Two of Nichols’ longtime friends, Elaine Garrison and Kim Meredith, were on hand to accept his replica, which will be on permanent display.

“It’s bittersweet,” Garrison said. “I should be happy and excited but I’m sad. I guess it will always be that way.” Nichols and Greenwood were the best of friends for nearly 50 years. After being introduced to golf at the Cookeville Country Club at the age of 12, Greenwood’s amateur career took off like a rocket. During the 1960s, he dominated amateur play in the state of Tennessee, winning the 1966 State Amateur and the 1968 State Open, becoming just the third of eight golfers to accomplish the feat. He was one of just seven golfers to ever win the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur twice and was ranked by Golf Magazine among the nation’s Top 10 amateurs on two occasions.

Greenwood began a glorious collegiate career at Tennessee Tech, finishing as the Ohio Valley Conference runner-up as a freshman. After transferring to North Texas State, he was a three-time All-American while finishing second in three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Championships.

After turning pro in 1969, he made the cut in 72 PGA events, finishing in the Top 10 six times and in the Top 25 in 15 different tournaments. “People are the most important thing,” said Greenwood, who is also a member of the North Texas University and Riverside Military Academy Hall of Fames. “I’ve got trophies and plaques where the name has fallen off and I can’t remember where I won them. People are the most important thing in the world.

“It’s such an honor to have people who care about you come down and be a part of this,” Greenwood continued. “To see friends of Bobby Nichols come down — they love me, too.”

PHOTO CAPTION: Cookeville’s Bobby Greenwood, right, poses with fellow Tennessee Golf Hall of Famer and Distinguished Career Award recipient Mason Rudolph Sunday night at Tennessee Golf House.
Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 10:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

In Memory of Bill Garrett (1940-2010)

“In golf, when you have the “honor” on the tee; then you have earned the right to go first. It seems only fitting that concerning the University of North Texas golf team that Bill Garrett should go first. We, the rest of his teammates look forward to being with Bill once again and perhaps ev…en playing golf with him and enjoying all the promises of God. When I get my new body, as promised by my Lord and Savior, I hope that it is 6’6”tall just like Bill Garrett’s instead of one that is 5’9” tall. The Lord told us to rejoice at death and cry at birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1-4), but I haven’t got the hang of that yet. Heaven must be wonderful for that to be true. May God continue to bless you, roomie. BG”.

[Bill Garrett played on the PGA Tour between 1964-1979]

Published in: on March 2, 2010 at 6:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Backsliders Class History – FUMC Sunday School (60th Anniversary)

I started attending the Backsliders Class with my father, Bob Greenwood. I was a young boy at the time and it must have been about 1949 or 1950. I remember that I was the only young person to be in the Backsliders Class but my dad took me with him so I thought it must be OK.

The first thing that impressed me was the President of the class. He was always such a smart, polished gentleman. And, you could tell that he truly loved the Lord. No doubt, in my mind, he must be the sharpest man in town! I also remember thinking that I could never be good enough to serve as President of the Backsliders Class.

The second thing that made an impression on me as a young boy was Jeff Wall. A master of music with deep voice that surely sounded like the voice of God… Or so I thought. In addition, his wife Vera Wall was a wonderful pianist. Together, their music was instrumental in leading me to accepting Jesus as my Savior and Lord of my life.

Jeff and Vera’s son, Don, who lived and worked in Florida, would visit the Backsliders Class when he was in town visiting and would dazzle everyone with his great talent of singing and playing the piano. In addition, their other son, Estel, was my father’s boyhood friend.

I will always love the Jeff Wall family and, more importantly for what their music ministry did for me.

Well, in 2006 to 2007, the Backsliders Class elected me to serve as President. Some of the past presidents were out in the audience and the entire class encouraged me and loved me through it all. Although I never felt good enough… It was a growing experience for me and I am thankful for the opportunity to serve.

By: Bobby Greenwood
2006-2007 Backsliders Class President

Published in: on December 28, 2009 at 8:13 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  

Bobby Greenwood’s Christian Faith

Backsliders celebrate 60th


COOKEVILLE — In 1949 or 1950, when Bobby Greenwood was a young boy, his father, Bob Greenwood, started taking him to Backsliders Class at First United Methodist Church in Cookeville. Impressionable Bobby was especially taken by the President of the class — smart, polished and a deeply committed Christian. Although Bobby thought he could never be good enough to hold that position, in 2006-2007 the class elected him president.

Organized on Oct. 1, 1949, the Backsliders met for the first year at Vaughn’s Grill on the Square near the church building. “Young Men’s Fellowship” was the original name for a variety of reasons, chiefly because ladies were not invited for several years. Men continue to outnumber ladies in the class, but not in significant numbers.

In its early days, the group did not sing because they claimed they could not. Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Wall, he a noted local Gospel singer and she a gifted accompanist, began leading them and all heaven broke loose. Greenwood testifies that their music was instrumental in his accepting Jesus as Savior and Lord of his life. Although the Walls went to their reward years ago, echoes of old Gospel hymns reverberate through the building in which Jeff Wall Hall is located. Members who wish to contribute funds may, and those moneys have gone to support numerous struggling churches and para-church organizations. In addition to supporting church ministries such as the Ministers’ Emergency Fund and the Food Pantry, they reach out to the community with financial aid to Mustard Seed Ranch, Cookeville Rescue Mission, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Heart of the Cumberlands and many others.

When former class president Jim Ross became a Backslider in 1969, he was struck by the diversity of class members ranging from top-level executives, local business owners and millionaires to regular working people who had not been accustomed to participating in religious activity. Retired Army Col. Hubert Crawford served as the city’s police chief and would on occasion bring inmates to class on Sunday mornings. As its name suggests, pomposity is far from being a trademark of the Backsliders. When the Pharisees attacked Jesus for hanging out with tax collectors and sinners, he answers them, It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.” (Matthew 9:12) Their goal has been to search out and help those who were not connected with any church and proclaim the Gospel to them.

When Fred Moore, a history professor at Tennessee Tech, was one of the regular class teachers, he provided them with this unofficial motto: “They ain’t no hypocrites here cause we don’t claim to be nothin’.” The official motto became and is this: “Any person regardless of state can become the person he should be through the power of Jesus Christ.” For several years, teaching duties were assigned to specific teachers for the various Sundays of the month. In more recent years, a committee of six people, each of whom arranges two months of programs, has been in effect. This has resulted in an interesting array of speakers and subjects.

On Sunday, Oct. 11 in the Christian Life Center of First Methodist Church, beginning at 12:30 p.m., there will be a 60th birthday celebration for the Backsliders Class. The program will include music by the Webb Sisters. All former Backsliders are urged to attend this joyful celebration. To determine how many porkers need to make the supreme sacrifice, notice of your plans to attend would be appreciated by the planners. 

I may have to be a few minutes late but I plan to be there. I hope to see many former and present Backsliders.

Source: Herald-Citizen, published Sunday, October 4, 2009, Cookeville, Tennessee.

Published in: on October 4, 2009 at 6:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Latest Media Release : “On tour with the Tour” ~ by Buddy Pearson

On tour with the Tour
Buddy Pearson
Herald-Citizen Managing Editor
Saturday, Jun 20, 2009

COOKEVILLE — For seven years, Bobby Greenwood was a regular on the PGA Tour. A player who made several cuts and consistent money, Greenwood competed in a lot of PGA Tour events at several different courses.

More than 30 years since teeing it up in his last PGA Tour event, Greenwood is taking a walk down memory lane with his wife Elma and 10-year-old daughter Viola with a tour of the Tour.

There are 20 PGA Tour tournaments or courses where PGA tournaments are being played this year that Greenwood has played in or played on.

There are also four on the Champions Tour schedule.

“It’s bittersweet because I feel like without the injuries I would have won more,” said Greenwood, whose career was cut short by a wrist injury. “It hurts you a little bit when everyone knows what you could have done but I didn’t get to. At the same time I’m very proud of what I’ve done. I should have done a lot better.”

A winner of over 150 amateur and professional tournaments, including the PGA Tour’s Rhode Island Open, Greenwood has been giving his wife and daughter a first-hand look of what life was like on the Tour in the 1970’s.

“This is what my life used to be,” said Greenwood. “This is what I worked 25 years for.”

Greenwood and his family went to the Ryder Cup matches last year at Valhalla and the Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda.

“Considering my background, where I came from, a third world country, you can only imagine how exciting it is for me to meet and talk with superstars in the world of golf,” said Elma, who is from the Philippines. “I enjoy watching Bobby meet old friends that he played with while on the PGA Tour, and to visit places and famous golf courses where Bobby Greenwood competed while on the PGA Tour is a rare experience.”

One of the best experiences for Elma and Viola came last month when Greenwood returned to TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, Fla., where Greenwood used to be the head professional.

“We took pictures where I used to give lessons on the range and we went down to where my condo was,” said Greenwood. “It brought back a lot of memories.”

Greenwood was recognized at a breakfast in conjunction with The Players Championship, which is held annually at TPC Sawgrass.

“When I was introduced, it thrilled Elma and Viola,” Greenwood said. Seeing Greenwood get the recognition from the former and current PGA Tour players makes his wife and daughter gush with pride.

“It is interesting that Bobby doesn’t realize the importance and great things that he accomplished during his playing career,” Elma said. “My husband is a very humble and kind man. Viola just enjoys everything and thinks her dad is a superstar.”

The next stop on Greenwood’s tour of the Tour will be in October at Harding Park Golf Course in San Francisco. The President’s Cup will be held there but Greenwood played the course when it was the San Francisco Open.

“It sometimes seems bittersweet to Bobby to revisit a tournament where he competed,” Elma explained. “As we visit various tournament sites, Bobby would share with me his experience and anecdotes that happened with fellow PGA Tour players. I really enjoy hearing the firsthand accounts of things that happened and being there at the spot.”

While Elma enjoys hearing the stories, Viola enjoys getting the autographs of current PGA Tour players. She got Jim Furyk to sign a flag at the Grand Slam of Golf and Phil Mickelson signed a ball at The Players Championship.

“Viola has turned into an autograph hound,” said Elma. “She said, ‘When I get Tiger Woods’ autograph, I will retire.'”

Until then, the Greenwoods plan on continuing their tour of the Tour.


Bobby Greenwood at 2009 The Players Championship

Photo caption: Bobby Greenwood stands near one of the scoreboards at The Players Championship in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.

2008 Grand Slam of Golf


Photo caption: PGA Tour golfer Jim Furyk signs a flag for Viola Greenwood at the Grand Slam of Golf.

Source: Herald-Citizen

Published in: on June 26, 2009 at 8:07 pm  Comments Off on Latest Media Release : “On tour with the Tour” ~ by Buddy Pearson  

2008 Updates…

Bobby Greenwood had a very hectic and fun 2008. Being a spectator to these PGA Tour tournaments – The Players at Sawgrass, Ryder Cup at Valhalla and the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda, brought back memories for him when he played the PGA Tour… However, due to a busy schedule, updating this website and uploading new photos, etc. has been delayed. We hope to remedy this in the coming months. ~ Team, 3/4/2009.

Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

TPC Sawgrass 2008

          Bobby Greenwood was Director Golf at Sawgrass Country Club and the Host Professional of  the 1977 & 1978 The PLAYERS Championships at TPC Sawgass, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. He returned to the TPC at Sawgrass this year for the The Players… 2008. Bobby was introduced and honored as a former PGA Tour player at the  FCA’s Breakfast with the Pros at the Marriott Sawgrass.

Bobby Greenwood-Host Pro for 1977-78 TPC at Sawgrass Country ClubPhoto caption: Bobby Greenwood – Host Professional for the 1977-’78 Tournament Players Championship, Sawgrass Country Club, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Published in: on August 26, 2008 at 8:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

What’s New with

** NEW NEWSPAPER CLIP uploaded – “The Bobby Greenwood-Jack Nicklaus Match” – at the SELECTED ARTICLES Section of the Official Website of Bobby Greenwood, PGA [].

** NEW LINK added to the site – NCAA/Missouri Valley Conference/College Career of Bobby Greenwood.

** Please STANDBY for more updates at the official website as we also update the PHOTO ARCHIVE/GALLERY.

** Read the latest media article below on Bobby Greenwood, written by Buddy Pearson, Managing Editor of Herald-Citizen, July 27, 2008.

Personal Note by Bobby Greenwood, July 27, 2008:
        “Buddy Pearson, Managing Editor of the Herald-Citizen, is too kind. He can make even me look good with his rare talent as a writer.”

** For NEW UPDATES, check Bobby Greenwood’s OFFICIAL WEBSITE at:



Published in: on August 2, 2008 at 10:18 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Memories” – Frontpage News Article by Buddy Pearson

Greenwood appreciating past success these days

Herald-Citizen Managing Editor
Sunday, July 27, 2008
Photo Caption: Bobby Greenwood first learned to play golf at the age of 12 at the Cookeville Country Club. His accomplishments in Amateur and professional tournaments throughout his illustrious career are being recognized more and more these days.
COOKEVILLE — When you have accomplished as much in golf as Bobby Greenwood has, it’s kind of hard to keep up with it all. But the hall of famer has found a new appreciation for his success on the links. Like a treasure that’s been discovered and put in a museum for everyone to see, Greenwood’s golfing achievements have been found again and put on the Internet for the world to view. With the help of his wife Elma, Greenwood’s storied golf career is chronicled on the Internet at

“Honestly, the Internet and my website and the wonderful articles by the sports editor of the paper validated what I did,” said Greenwood. “Even I had forgotten.”

Some of Greenwood’s more memorable golfing escapades are already noted in five different books: My 55 Ways to Lower Your Golf Score by Jack Nicklaus; My Story by Jack Nicklaus; Southern Golf Association: The First Hundred Years by Gene Pearce; The History of Tennessee Golf by Gene Pearce; and, most recently, The History of Sunnehanna Country Club and the Sunnehanna Amateur by John Yerger III. But once he and Elma began researching his past successes for the website, even Greenwood was impressed.

“When my wife put this stuff together and we put the stuff together for the paper, I should of had more confidence (as a player),” Greenwood admitted. “I was a better player than I realized. I think it’s important for a golfer or an athlete to make a note of his accomplishments and awards and read those while they are playing. We forget.”

Greenwood’s career is hardly forgettable. Once he began teeing it up at the Cookeville Country Club at age 12, his work ethic and desire to be the best helped propel him to star status as an amateur and in college.

During the 1960s, he dominated amateur play in the state of Tennessee, winning the 1966 State Amateur and the 1968 State Open, becoming just the third of eight golfers to win both tournaments. He was ranked by Golf Magazine among the nation’s Top 10 amateurs on two occasions. He is just one of seven golfers to ever win the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur twice, setting the course record with a 63. Most recently, Greenwood was honored in June by the tournament officials at Sunnehanna in Johnstown, Pa., for his past success as a two time champion.

“It was a moving experience. It was really gratifying the way they treated me,” said Greenwood. “They gave me a sport coat and some framed pictures and they were glad to see me. That’s always nice.”

The day after Greenwood flew home to Cookeville, his record fell to one of the participants in the Sunnehanna tournament after 43 years.

“They thought the course record was going to last forever because it had for 43 years,” Greenwood said. “I’ve had somewhere around 30 course records. This was the last course record that hadn’t been broken.”

Records were meant to be broken and Greenwood certainly had his share. In college, he began his career at Tennessee Tech where he finished as the runner-up in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament as a freshman. He then transferred to North Texas State where he was a three-time All-American, placing second in three consecutive Missouri Valley Conference Championships.

Perhaps his most notable, and gratifying, golfing experience came during his college years when he playing at Colonial Country Club in Memphis. Greenwood took on Jack Nicklaus, who has won more major championships than any other golfer, and beat him in match play.

“All I thought about was winning a tournament,” confessed Greenwood. “If I finished fourth or fifth, it didn’t mean anything. I went to Niagara Falls last year and I told Elma I played in the Porter Cup there. We went to Niagara Falls Country Club and they remembered me. They pulled out the program and said ‘Hey, you finished fourth.’ Fourth meant absolutely nothing to me at the time. It was just another failure. Then you look down the list behind me and those great players, who accomplished a lot more than I did, I beat them at that time. I didn’t know that.”

Greenwood beat some good players while he was on the PGA Tour. After turning pro in 1969, he made the cut in 72 PGA events, finishing in the top 10 six times and in the top 25 in 15 different tournaments. His lone victory on the Tour came in 1970 when he won the Rhode Island Open. But injuries played a key role in Greenwood’s decision to leave the Tour in 1975.

“The last tournament I played on tour was the Mexico Open in Mexico City. I remember having a three or four foot par putt and thinking this will be the last putt I will hit as a Tour player and it was,” recalled Greenwood.

“My wrist was in bad shape and my back was bad. I had neck problems and it was becoming pretty tough to play so I quietly retired.”

Greenwood began living the life of a club pro after retiring from the Tour, taking over the No. 1 club job in America at TPC Sawgrass. He recently returned to TPC Sawgrass and enjoyed some fellowship with current PGA Tour players during a recent PGA tournament.

“It was nice,” said Greenwood. “I had breakfast with the Tour players and they introduced me as a former Tour player. It was very gratifying.”

The attention and accolades Greenwood has been getting lately is very gratifying for the 69-year-old. In 2002, he was inducted into the North Texas Hall of Fame. This past year, Greenwood was one of the charter members inducted into Riverside Military Academy’s Sports Hall of Fame. At Riverside, in addition to golf, he excelled in baseball and basketball.

But for his golfing achievements, Greenwood was enshrined in the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame last fall, becoming the 30th member of the distinguished group.

“It’s an honor,” said Greenwood. “It’s nice to be appreciated.”

While Greenwood has found a new appreciation for his career, he also appreciates the people around him such as his wife and his 9-year-old daughter Viola. He also appreciates a man who was his longtime friend and golfing partner Bobby Nichols. After giving Greenwood’s introduction speech at the Tennessee Golf Hall of Fame ceremonies, Nichols died a few months later from complications in his fight against cancer.

His loss has been felt more by Greenwood than any loss on the golf course.

“I miss him,” said Greenwood. “He and I were like brothers. There will never be another Bobby Nichols.”

Greenwood doesn’t get out and play much golf anymore. He spends time with his family and is still in the golfing business, giving lessons and working as a golf architect when called upon. If he wants to remember something from his great golfing past, all he has to do is log on to the Internet and look at his website and take a walk down memory lane.

Published in: on July 27, 2008 at 6:29 am  Leave a Comment