Greenwood earns Distinguished Career Award
“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.”
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