Article from Tennessean, Nashville, Tennessee, Friday Ayem, by the late John Bibb, Sports Editor. May 1, 1970.Transcription of the Article:
BOBBY GREENWOOD was a disappointed fellow when he pulled into the parking lot of his Dallas motel shortly after lunch yesterday.
He had spent the morning at the Preston Trails Country Club, sweating out the weather and “shadow boxing” as he called it.
There had been a half-dozen false starts toward the first tee before the tournament committee finally determined to postpone the opening round of the Byron Nelson Classic because of heavy rain.
But, the day had really just begun for Greenwood.
FOR AFTER HE SCAMPERED through the light sprinkle from his car into the motel lobby, he stopped at the desk to pick up his room key.
“There’s a letter, too,” the clerk said, presenting the Cookeville native with an ecru envelope which, when measured later, proved to be 61/2 by 41/2 inches in size. Actually, it was to grow much broader in dimension when measured in the perspective of the 31-year-old rookie pro’s life.
Across the front of the envelope were the words “Mr. Robert Greenwood, Golf Professional.”
Inside was a silver-engraved invitation to participate in the rich Colonial National Invitation Tournament at Fort Worth, May 11-17.
“I’LL TELL YOU,” GREENWOOD said later in the afternoon, “it’s just the nicest thing that’s happened to me since I joined the tour. The Colonial rates among the finest championships we play, and it’s a real honor to get an invitation.”
* * *
Champion’s Choice Fine Compliment
Bobby was in for another bit of satisfaction before the afternoon passed.
“I had a telephone call from Frank Rogers a few minutes ago,” Greenwood said, “and he told me how I got the invitation.”
Rogers, the Fort Worth businessman who is the guiding hand behind the stunning success of Nashville’s Music City USA Pro-Celebrity Tournament, also directs the Colonial Invitation.
Rogers informed Greenwood that he had been selected to play by the former Colonial champions. There are three such entries in this year’s tournament and they’re called “The Champion’s Choices”.
“He’s a very kind man,” Greenwood said of Rogers. “Not only did he explain the details of the tournament, but he gave me a great deal of confidence by telling me he knew I would play the tough Colonial course well.
“I’m sure he recognized my excitement, and he added to my enthusiasm by saying that in 1967 a Champions’ Choice, Dave Stockton, won the tournament. I am most appreciative of the opportunity, and I just hope to play well.”
* * *
First Year One of Many Moments
When Greenwood opened his envelope at the motel desk, it was 366 days, almost to the hour, since he graduated from the PGA’s qualifying school in Florida last April.
The ensuing year has been one of exasperation, excitement and education for Bobby.
“There have been moments when I really worried if I had made the correct decision about playing the tour. Then, there were exciting moments like last week when I finished seventh at Tallahassee and qualified for the Byron Nelson classic,” Greenwood said.
“I think I learn something about golf every round now, and this has to be a big help to me. My earnings ($7,129) aren’t much to talk about, but I’ve been hitting the ball quite well recently. I won $1,200 at Tallahassee on a fine golf course.”
* * *
Qualifying Rounds Toughest Part
Greenwood believes the toughest part of the tour are qualifying rounds he faces regularly each Monday.
“This is rough. There just isn’t a chance to make more than a couple of mistakes and still qualify. If you fail, you don’t make a dime that week.
“Once last summer in Philadelphia, there were 212 players qualifying for 12 spots. It normally takes a score of par or lower to get a place,” Bobby said.
“The qualifying fields are getting so large now that quite frequently there is a pre-qualifying round played on the Friday before the regular qualifying on Monday. It’s becoming more and more competitive each week.
“That’s why I really appreciated that envelope from Colonial. To me, it’s like getting a free pass for a chance to win $25,000.
“You know something?” Greenwood mused. “It’s quit raining, and just noticed – the envelope has a silver lining.”