This article was written by Bobby Greenwood and Rick McNeal of Glade Vista, Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, dated May 23, 2006.
The Hogan Connection
A couple of weeks ago, the PGA Tour stopped at Fort Worth, Texas for the Colonial National Invitational. This is one of the favorite golf courses on the Tour. And, this tournament is very special to me.
When I was in school at North Texas State University I would hitchhike from Denton to Fort Worth in order to go to Shady Oaks CC and watch Ben Hogan practice. Hogan would go out on the course to #13 fairway to hit practice balls with his caddy. I would stand off perhaps a hundred yards and lean up against a tree. I did this many times, but each time I would move a little closer. After several trips, I got within thirty or forty yards. Hogan would hit a bag of balls, stop and smoke a cigarette, and look over at me. We would nod at each, but that was it. One day Hogan was going to hit some bunker shots and he asked me to get in his cart and ride over to the practice bunker. This was my introduction to the great Ben Hogan.
In Greenwood’s first year as a PGA Tour player he was selected as the Champion’s Choice to play in the Colonial Invitational at Fort Worth. “The Champion’s Choice is a rookie that they think is going to be a great player”, Greenwood said, “I guess I’m the only Champion’s Choice rookie that never became one of the great ones.”
After college I went to the PGA Tour Qualifying School, tying Johnny Miller for 3rd place and played for seven years, 1969 through 1975.
One year, 1971, “I’m on the first tee at the Westchester Golf Classic at Rye, NY with Hal Underwood”, Greenwood added. “We’re getting ready to play a practice round and Ben Hogan comes up and asks to join us. That was the last tournament he ever played in on the PGA Tour. He told me the shafts in my woods were too limber and he let me hit his driver on the eighteenth hole. The next week I received a set of woods in the mail from Ben Hogan.” This was a surprise because we didn’t talk to much during the round… he was a man of few words… he mostly just said, “your away.”