A New Englander's Take on Golf
May 11, 2022
Jerry and Karol Cozby surrounded by family members in 2016 at Jerry's induction into the Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame. Cary and wife Stacy at left with son Banks; Chance and wife Erica at right with sons Campbell and Catcher; Craig and wife Cassie are in the back with their children Charlye and Canyon in front.

It is a family story that is told with great warmth, for it checks all the boxes to what is at the essence of a marriage and a commitment to one another. Love. Faith. Hope. Vision. Dream. Golf.


Well, yeah, golf. Jerry Cozby loved the game and was going to make it his life. Karol Cozby, his young wife, was OK with that and if golf was at the center of her husband’s world, well, it would be the focal point of hers, too.

Only why did it have to take these two born-and-raised Texans on a long car ride from the San Antonio area to that place in . . . where was it? Oh, yes, Bartlesville. It was in Oklahoma, of all places.

“My mom cried all the way to Bartlesville,” laughed Chance Cozby, the youngest of three boys born to Jerry and Karol. “My father told her, ‘I will just do it for a short time and then we’ll move back to Texas.’ ”

That was in 1969, so Chance Cozby pauses briefly before adding the exclamation point to the story.

“My mom is 76 and she’s still in Bartlesville (53 years later). Loves the club, the people, the town. She’s never wanted to leave.”

Digest that for a moment and it’s difficult not to give a tip of the cap to Jerry Cozby, who died at 79 in August of 2020. Seems like he knew what he was doing, eh, when he left that job at Oak Hill CC in San Antonio and accepted a new position at Hillcrest CC in Bartlesville.

But if you are to savor all the accolades that were circulated about Jerry Cozby’s beautiful life, you’d likely understand how he’d tell you the magic ingredient to all of it was golf. It is our most mystical, our most captivating game, and if Jerry Cozby truly believed that head professionals had one job – “to make sure all amateur golfers, whether at public courses or country clubs, are having a good time and enjoying the game” – then he aced his craft.

He also let golf’s magic sift through his family – Karol, of course, and sons Cary, Craig, and Chance – to such a masterful scale that Ken MacLeod offers the highest of praise. “The first family of Oklahoma golf,” said MacLeod, who has the credentials. He was the golf writer at the Tulsa Tribune from 1987-92 and since 1993 has owned and published Golf Oklahoma magazine. Oh, and for good measure he is also Director of Oklahoma Golf Hall of Fame.

So, when MacLeod speaks of Jerry Cozby’s dignity – “A character. Legendary. Just the warmest, nicest guy who had a huge influence on golf in the state.” – it resonates.

Especially now, with the 104th PGA Championship returning to vaunted Southern Hills CC in Tulsa, Okla., next week.

It affords a little sliver of the spotlight to shine on Southern Hills Director of Golf Cary Cozby, who followed in his father’s footsteps in 2016 when he was named PGA Professional of the Year. Jerry had won it in 1985 and they are the only father-son winners of the prestigious honor.

But the PGA Championship coming to Cary’s place of work in Oklahoma should touch a button in all of us, even if a foot has never been stepped inside that state.

Yes, Oklahoma is where Jerry helped spread a passion for golf, where three Cozby lads worked mornings and played in the afternoon at Hillcrest or played in the morning and worked in the afternoon. It is where Cary honed his game and took it to the University of Oklahoma, a decision that was also made by Craig (a two-time All-America) and then Chance. And Oklahoma is where the most passionate golf fan of them all, Karol, was shuttle driver, probably the equipment manager, and definitely the golf statistician, if for no other reason than her husband was too nervous to watch his boys play.

Ah, but when Karol would produce the scorecard, marking which fairways were hit, where the errant drives went, greens in regulation, and if approaches went long or short, it was studied by Jerry Cozby.

“Dad would pore over it and say, ‘Looks like you hit it left, so we’ll work on that,’ ” said Chance.

Oklahoma, all of it, but no matter. It could be anywhere, because it is everywhere, this wildly intoxicating passion for golf that in countless cases runs through families with unrelenting love and where you can envision some brother or sister emphatically stating what Chance Cozy does.

“The game of golf has done everything for us,” he said. “And in different ways.”

He is Executive Director of the Thunderbirds, host organization of the PGA Tour’s most well-attended tournament, the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Middle brother Craig, arguably the best golfer of the three, the one who gave the pro game a shot, is a sales rep for Ping based in Missouri.

Divided by state borders, they are united forever by the game of golf which “was never pushed on us,” said Chance. “It just kind of happened that it became part of our lives. We grew up on the golf course (Hillcrest) so we were fortunate. But we all just loved it.”

Study the dynamics of the story and smile, for we all know families that make this great game central to their lives. Watch the PGA Championship next week and smile some more for the Cozbys who personify what it is to love this game and treat it with dignity.

I have a passion for playing golf that is surpassed only by my passion for writing about people who have a passion for playing golf, for working in golf, for living their lives around golf. Chasing the best professional golfers around the world for The Boston Globe, Golfweek Magazine, and the PGA Tour for more than 20 years was a blessing for which I’ll be eternally grateful. I’ve been left with precious memories of golf at its very best, but here is a takeaway that rates even more valuable – the game belongs to everyone who loves it. “Power Fades” will be a weekly tribute with that in mind, a digital production to celebrate a game that many of us love. If you share a passion for golf, sign up down below for a free subscription and join the ride. And should you have suggestions, thoughts, critiques, or general comments, feel free to pass them along.

Cheers, Jim McCabe


Jim McCabe | May 11, 2022

PROFESSIONALS: Clancy Waugh has been on a nice little roll for himself as he navigates his way through the wide world of professional golf. The Wake Forest graduate and son of PGA of America chief executive Seth Waugh shot 71 at Southampton Golf Club on Long Island to get through a U.S. Open local qualifier. That success came on the heels of what he did in Joburg, South Africa: Posting scores of 70-72-71-67, Clancy, with Seth on the bag, finished T-4 at Heron Banks Golf and River Estate to earn his way through the Sunshine Tour Qualifying Tournament. He will be playing in South Africa later this spring and this summer, though that is on hold until he sees how he fares at the upcoming U.S. Final Qualifying, which could lead to a spot in the U.S. Open at The Country Club (June 16-19). What helped set some of this in motion was Waugh’s first win on the Minor League Golf Tour back in early March . . . . . With the season just about over for those who want to head elsewhere for their summer competition, Jimmy Hervol of Hopkinton is second on the Minor League Golf Tour money list. With tournaments held pretty much on a daily basis, Hervol totaled $14,866.

U.S. OPEN TRACKING: The road to possible inclusion in the field at The Country Club continues to move along. At that site in Southampton, Nick Maccario of Waltham and Lucas Spahl of Dudley each shot 70 to breeze through. Brad Tilley of Easton, Conn., was among those to fall short . . . . . In Oxford, Conn., conditions were tough and scores were high as Cody Paladino of Connecticut earned medalist honors with 73 and a couple of New England collegians – Caleb Manuel of UConn and Nick Cummings of Boston College – hung tough with 74s to make it through to final qualifying. Manuel is from Topsham, Maine, Cummings from Weston. Max Theoradakis of Danbury, Conn., former UConn standout Zach Zaback, and Matt Downes of Longmeadow were among those who failed to advance . . . . . Pretty stout field at Kirkbrae in Lincoln, R.I., for five spots that went to co-medalists at 69, Thomas McCormick of Warwick, R.I., and Fletcher Babcock of Danielson, Conn., those at 71, Hervol and Bryson Richards of Plainfield, Vt., and to Matt Baran (72) of Osterville. Patrick Frodigh of Westwood won a playoff to earn first alternate . . . . . At Pinewild CC in Pinehurst, N.C., Brendan Hunter of Nashua, N.H., shot 73 and missed the chance to get in through a playoff by one shot . . . . . In Ponte Vedra, Fla., Dru Love, son of Davis, shot 72 and earned first alternate status. Among those who came up short at that site were former PGA Tour winners Derek Lamley (73) and Frank Lickliter (79) and Chris Solomon (82) of the “No Laying Up” crew . . . . . Former collegiate standout Norman Xiong, who is still just 23, shot 70 and got through the qualifier in Palm Desert, Calif. Patrick Cantlay’s younger brother, Nick, posted 71 to earn first alternate status . . . . . There was a wild one at Forest Creek GC in Round Rock, Texas, where Parker Coody made not one, but two aces and it’s a good thing he did. The second one came at his 17th hole, the 190-yard, par-3 eighth, and got him to 4-under. When he bogeyed the next hole to finish at 3-under, he just avoided the playoff that took place at 2-under. There, Taylor Funk, son of Fred, survived the 7-for-3 longjam and will move on to Final Qualifying. Coody, whose grandfather, Charles Coody, won the 1971 Masters, had also aced the 160-yard, par-3 17th, his eighth hole . . . . . In Wheaton, Ill., James Imai of Brookline shot 77 and failed to make it through.

U.S. WOMEN’S OPEN TRACKING: Some notable names failed to get through a 36-hole qualifier in St. Louis for the U.S. Women’s Open, which will be contest June 2-5 at Pine Needles in Southern Pines, N.C. – Maria Stassi, who shot 75-69; Emma Talley, 75-70; Christina Kim, 73-74; Mariah Stackhouse, 73-74 . . . . . In Hockley, Texas, Annie Park was medalist at 138 and Cheyenne was a stroke behind to easily qualify . . . . . Bobbi Stricker, daughter of Steve, shot 79-84 and failed to get through at a site in Chaska, Minn. . . . . . The qualifying continues throughout the country, including at Worcester Country Club Thursday where one spot is available to a field of 38.

AMATEURS: Molly Smith warmed up for her U.S. Women’s Open Qualifying challenge Thursday by teaming with her father, Phil, to shoot 67 then take a three-way playoff and win the annual Mass Golf Stone Cup, a mixed-four-ball championship. The Smiths play their golf out of Vesper Country Club, as does Tracy Martin, who teamed with James Pleat of Granite Links GC to also 67 where they were joined in the playoff by Doug Clapp (Old Sandwich GC) and Pam Kuong (Charles River CC). Things ended at Andover CC when the Smiths made birdie at the second playoff hole to successfully defend their 2021 title. Posting 68 and missing the playoff by one were Shannon Johnson and Matt Parziale, the formidable duo out of Thorny Lea GC, and Anina Ku of Granite Links GC and Oliver Cordeiro of Belmont CC . . . . . There’s no shortage of New England golfers to root for when the U.S. Amateur Four-ball Championship gets under way at the Country Club of Birmingham (Ala.) gets under next Monday. At least 14 teams include competitors with New England ties. There will be two days of four-ball stroke play, then the field will be cut to the low 32 teams for match play.

1 – He’ll put it to good use

For a going-away gift, how ‘bout we pitch in and buy Sergio Garcia a spittoon?

2 – It’s a byproduct of skipping spring

Remember, the first person who complains about it being too hot gets a three-stroke penalty. Severe, I know, but it’ll be deserved.

3 – You cannot be serious

Please tell me you don’t use a pastel tee – or worse yet, a neon green one.

4 – Oldie but goodie

If you don’t take four golf balls at the first tee and toss them in the air to determine partners, you’re missing great flavor.

5 – The score is all you need

Irrelevant golf stats outnumber pertinent golf stats by 15-1 margin.

6 – I’m begging here

Cool photos of golf holes on Instagram are quite welcomed. But unless you can produce documentation that 50 or more people truly care where in the heck you’re playing golf – especially if it’s a media day – spare the social media world.

7 – Forget the PR spin

Regarding LIV defectors, when you’re talking numbers, it ain’t the world ranking, it’s the age. Far less impactful to lose a 43-year-old with fading skills than a 26-year-old with much upside.

8 – Will look the other way, thank you

I imagine there’s a reason for iron covers. But I just don’t care to hear it.

9 – It’s them, not me

Referencing casual observations from more than 45 years of this great game, my opinion: 86 percent of golfers who say they aren’t slow, are slow.


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