Rain doesn't put damper on Campbell Classic
HUNTINGTON -- Norm Ogilvie has a son named Joe who's competed on the PGA Tour for 13 years. That connection has allowed Ogilvie to meet many famous people.
Ogilvie came from Lancaster, Ohio, to participate in a Monday fundraiser at Guyan Golf and Country Club. The rain and cold didn't matter because Ogilvie had the opportunity to meet William C. Campbell, one of golf's greatest ambassadors.
Fifteen teams battled through the elements in the 15th William C. Campbell Classic held in Campbell's hometown and on his home course. The West Virginia Golf Foundation established the event in 1997 to honor Campbell for his accomplishments as an amateur golfer and volunteer. Money raised goes into the Campbell Scholarship Fund. Sholarships are awarded to West Virginia high school seniors based on merit and their involvement in golf. So far, more than $85,000 has gone to nearly 80 students.
The 2012 scholarship recipients are Moundsville's Eli Lambie, a graduate of Wheeling Park, and Hurricane's Logan Williams, a graduate of Hurricane. They both received $5,000 grants.
"Never met him before today," Ogilvie said during the post-round dinner inside the club's banquet room. "It's a great thrill. It's been a lifetime dream. I'm old enough to remember him when he was at the top of his game. He's a legend."
Campbell, 89, has compiled quite a resume. He won the U.S. Amateur in 1964. He's won the West Virginia Amateur 15 times, No. 1 on the career win list. He's in the World Golf Hall of Fame. He and legend Sam Snead were the first two inductees into the West Virginia Golf Hall of Fame. He's the only man to ever serve as president of the USGA and Captain of the Royal & Ancient Club at St. Andrews in Scotland.
Bob Gwynne, executive vice president and general legal counsel for Greer Industries in Morgantown, is aware of Campbell's many exploits. To him, there's one award that sums up what Campbell is all about. Campbell won the USGA's Bob Jones Award in 1956. He was the second recipient of the award given in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. Francis Quimet was the first in 1955.
"There's nothing better than that," said Gwynne, chairman of the West Virginia Golf Foundation.
Tim McNeely, tournament director for the PGA Greenbrier Classic played in July on Old White TPC at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, took time off from work Monday to participate for another cause. He's on the foundation's board.
"To be able to come and help them and pay tribute to Mr. Campbell, there's nothing greater," McNeely said. "Certainly for West Virginia, he is golf in West Virginia. Nationally, when you look at his record and the things he's done in amateur golf, and places he's gone, to be head of both the R&A and USGA, I mean it's just unbelievable the life he's lived. It's certainly one we should all aspire to. He's a legend."
Gwynne said his family and the Raese family (John Raese is CEO of Greer Industries) have known the Campbell family for many years.
"Bill's always been an outstanding person. He represents the state better probably than anybody whoever lived here," Gwynne said. "It's great for the golf association and golf foundation to be associated with Bill Campbell in this way. Look at Bill's record, not only as a golfer but as a person. I saw a story in the (Campbell) museum (at Guyan) that said you measure a man by whether he's a true gentleman or not. He's just that. He's an example for everyone of us on how we ought to live our lives."
Scott Armstrong, an insurance agent from Columbus, made the trip down with wife Julie. He works for John Hancock, just as Campbell does.
"He's a true gentleman in golf and business sense," Armstrong said. "He's been a joy to work with. Today speaks volumes about the type of person he is."
Ken Tackett, executive director of the West Virginia Golf Association, said he brought the tournament back to Guyan for a reason. The Snead Course at The Greenbrier Sporting Club had been the home in recent years. The event will return to the Snead Course in 2013.
"I wanted everybody to see the room (museum)," Tackett said. "Half of the field's from outside West Virginia. That says something about what Campbell means to golf."
In addition to Huntington, Campbell has residences in Lewisburg, W.Va., and in Florida. He made it to the course prior to the start of play and went around in a golf cart to socialize with the players. At the dinner, he made a brief speech.
Campbell received a standing ovation when he was introduced and when he went back to his seat with Steve Fox assisting.
"More power to them. I think it's great especially for the purpose of being here," Campbell said during a brief interview on the course. "It's making an opportunity for people to get a chance to get a scholarship to get an education they might not be able to get. There's a reason for playing in the rain. I'm deepy honored to have my name attached to it. Now I know this is very British golf we're seeing today, playing despite the cold and rain. I just hope they're having a good time."
In his brief dinner talk, Campbell got emotional. He told the crowd he'd recently received a phone call from a past scholarship recipient who went to college, law school and now practices law.
"He said he wouldn't have gone without the scholarship," Campbell said. "That's a pretty good tribute. It comes at the right time."