SOUTHERN PINES, N.C. (Oct. 23, 2017) – The nine member selection committee of the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame cast their ballots for the Class of 2018. David Strawn of Charlotte, N.C. and Bobby Long of Greensboro, N.C. were selected for induction. Information about their ceremony to be held this winter will be announced in the coming months.
When David Strawn takes a few minutes to reminisce about what he’s accomplished in golf, his mind goes back to the summer of 1973 when he was runner-up to Craig Stadler in the U.S. Amateur, to his experience in the infamous ’74 U.S. Open at Winged Foot and to the days he spent playing alongside Seve Ballesteros in the Open Championship at Royal Birkdale.For Bobby Long, his legacy in the game comes alive each summer at the Wyndham Championship at Sedgefield Country Club, an event that almost certainly would have been lost forever were it not for his determination to keep it going, reinvigorating the tournament in the process.
Because of what both Strawn and Long have done and their lasting impact on the game, they will be the newest inductees into the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame next year. They will join a Hall that includes, among others, Arnold Palmer, Paul Simson, Julius Boros, Chip Beck, Tom Fazio, Beth Daniel, Charlie Sifford and E. Harvie Ward.
“It’s just very humbling,” said Strawn, a Charlotte lawyer, who learned the game while working at his father Bob’s driving range near the Charlotte airport.
Strawn’s playing resume is a deep one. What he didn’t learn from his father, he learned from club pros Walter and Lester Reynolds, playing much of his golf at Carolina Golf Club not far from his father’s range. He played his first tournament at age 11, part of a rich junior golf community in Charlotte.
“It had to help, all the competition you play helps,” Strawn said. “You learn how to lose. You learn how to overcome the bad things that happen on the golf course.”
Strawn played collegiately at Furman after being recruited to play basketball by coach Frank Selvy, the only man to score 100 points in a Division I college basketball game.
By the summer of 1973, Strawn had become the most dominant player in the Carolinas. He finished second in the Carolinas Open, then led or shared the lead after every round of the Eastern Amateur, only to lose in a four-way playoff.
In the 1973 U.S. Amateur at Inverness, Strawn blew through his competition on the way to a finals showdown with Stadler, beating Bill Harvey and Bill Campbell along the way. In the finals, Strawn fell behind early and lost 6&5 to the eventual Masters champion.
“I played great until the finals. I was just flat in the morning round and got too far behind,” Strawn said. The next summer, Strawn won the prestigious Sunnehanna Amateur, shooting 70-72-67-65 to win by three in a field stuffed with future Tour players including Jay Haas, Curtis Strange and George Burns. “It was the best I ever played,” Strawn said.
He qualified for the famous ‘Massacre at Winged Foot’ U.S. Open and missed making the cut by one stroke after making three straight back-nine birdies in the second round, playing the last four holes 4-over par.
Strawn tried to qualify for the PGA Tour but never got there. He played professionally in Europe for three summers and was paired for two rounds in the 1976 Open Championship with 19-year old Ballesteros, who splashed onto the world stage that week at Royal Birkdale.
“He was very driven, very aggressive,” Strawn said. “He approached golf like a football player.”
In 1986, Strawn regained his amateur status and has played various events through the years, playing much of his golf at Quail Hollow in Charlotte.
Were it not for Long’s inspiration and dedication to preserving the Wyndham Championship, the PGA Tour event that had been a fixture in Greensboro since 1936 was literally days from extinction in 2005.
Long, whose businesses have included insurance and investments, grew up with what was then the Greater Greensboro Open, or just the GGO to locals. With no sponsor and no sign of one, it was Long who came to the rescue. Long is the chairman of the Piedmont Triad Charitable Foundation board of directors.
“The golf tournament was kind of the last straw. We had lost company after company after company. Now, we were looking at looking at losing this,” Long said.
Working with tournament director Mark Brazil and local leaders, Long galvanized an effort to save the tournament. He appealed to the region with a base of 1.6 million people, asking business leaders to invest in the event.
“We got together and got other business leaders in the region to hold hands and use the golf tournament as the reason. It worked well because we were in desperate shape,” Long said.
With a $25 million letter of credit, Long convinced Wyndham to sponsor the event. Despite an awkward date just before the FedEx Cup playoffs begin, the Wyndham Championship has been transformed. It moved back to Sedgefield Country Club, found its own sweet spot and is thriving.
Long’s is a story worth celebrating as is David Strawn’s and it’s why they belong in the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame.
Story courtesy of Ron Green, Jr. for Global Golf Post
About the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame
Founded in 1981, the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have contributed to the game of golf and have a connection to the Carolinas. The plaques commemorating all of the inductees are housed in the convention hall of the Carolina Hotel of Pinehurst Resorts. The Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame is under the care of the Carolinas Golf Association.
For more information about the Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame, visit www.carolinasgolfhof.org
About the Carolinas Golf Association (CGA)
The CGA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit educational organization that was founded in 1909 to promote and to protect the game of golf in the Carolinas by providing competitions, education, support and benefits to golf clubs and golfers. The CGA is the second largest golf association in the country with over 700 member clubs represented by nearly 150,000 individuals.
The CGA annually conducts 43 championships and five team match competitions for men, women, juniors, and seniors. It also runs over 140 One-Day (net and gross) events and qualifying for USGA national championships. The CGA serves golf in the Carolinas with numerous programs such as: the USGA Handicap System; tournament management software and support; course measuring and course/slope ratings; agronomy consultation; answers about the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status, and Handicapping; Carolinas Golf Magazine; Interclub series; Tarheel Youth Golf Association; Carolinas Golf Hall of Fame; expense assistance for USGA Junior and Girls’ Junior qualifiers from the Carolinas; and the Carolinas Golf Foundation (CGF). The CGF has distributed more than $1,500,000 since 1977 to benefit Carolinas’ golf initiatives including junior and women’s programs.
For more information about the CGA, visit www.carolinasgolf.org.