TULSA, Okla. — Some of the world's best golfers are taking the course at Southern Hills this week for the 2021 KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.
Among them will be Southern Hills Director of Golf Cary Cozby. This is the first major tournament for the Bartlesville native since landing his dream job at Southern Hills.
“I remind myself every day when I drive in here how cool this place is," Cozby said.
Cozby's in his sixth year as director of golf at Southern Hills Country Club. A prestigious position as the club prepares to host two major golf tournaments back-to-back, the Senior PGA Championship this week and the 2022 PGA Championship next year.
“Being an Oklahoma guy and growing up here, growing up in a golf family, you know, Southern Hills is the pinnacle of the state and this part of the country," Cozby said.
Golf was a part of Cozby and his brothers' lives from the day they were born. Their dad, Jerry was a longtime golf professional. He was the head golf professional at Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville for 41 years.
“We grew up at Hillcrest," Cozby said. "We were picking the range, working on the grounds crew, whatever we had to do is what we were told to do.”
Cozby followed his father’s footsteps into the world of golf. The two are the only father-son duo to win the PGA Professional of the Year. Jerry in 1985 and Cary in 2016. The award even more special since Jerry passed away last August.
“I remember when he was called by the PGA for that like it was yesterday," Cozby said. "And so, to share that experience with him, obviously since he’s passed away now, it’s really a special memory that I’ll have forever.”
Jerry’s legacy won’t be forgotten. There are plans to build a new golf teaching performance facility at Hillcrest, named the Cozby Learning Center.
While his dad is gone, Cozby will always remember the lessons from him on those many days on the golf course.
“I learned a lot from my dad, but I certainly watched him every day, just never had a bad day," Cozby said. "You know, I’m sure he did. But we didn’t see it at home. We didn’t see it at the club. And to just treat every person that comes through the door as great.”
The Senior PGA isn’t only Cozby’s first major tournament as head of golf at Southern Hills. He also gets to play in it. As he takes the course this week, he’ll have someone special by his side. His son is taking over caddy duty. Cozby now carrying on the lessons, and love, he learned from his father.
“It’s pretty special," Cozby said. "I wish he was here, but I know he’ll be watching.”
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