Bev Norwood, 66, passed away Wednesday, September 4 from cancer. The golf world mourns the loss of one of its great writers.
"I am very saddened by the passing, which came so suddenly." said Arnold Palmer. "We will certainly miss his dry wit and the hard work he put into everything he did for us over the years. He was a great guy and a good friend."
Friends Doc Giffin and Bev Norwood
Bev Norwood graduated from Wake Forest University in 1969 and taught school for a year in his hometown of Oxford, North Carolina.
I'd known Bev Norwood since his days at Wake Forest University. In fact, I spoke at the Commencement ceremonies and received an honorary degree from the school the same year Bev graduated. I worked with him in one way or another ever since." said Palmer.
He then went onto work at the Winston-Salem Journal as a sports reporter where he covered the 1974 PGA Championship at Tanglewood Golf Course.
Mark McCormack hired him at IMG to edit its golf magazine that was published out of London, England, entitled, "Golf Weekly." While living in London, Norwood met Bernadette, whom he called “Bernie," and became his wife.
Upon transferring back to the United States, he commenced a full-time position with IMG working out of offices in New York and then subsequently Cleveland. In 1979, he started specializing in producing programs for IMG's golf tournaments, the most notable of which was Arnold Palmer's PGA TOUR event at Bay Hill, which was launched in 1979 as the Bay Hill Citrus Classic. For this inaugural tournament and for many years thereafter, he was responsible for overseeing and managing the media center as the event morphed into todayâ€™s Arnold Palmer Invitational.
"Bev was a fixture during tournament week and someone I counted on to manage our media operations. His relationships within the golf media circles on an international scale were unmatched and certainly helped enhance our efforts on behalf of the tournament and Mr. Palmer." said Scott Wellington, Tournament Director. "My friendship with him over the last nine years is what I will miss the most."
"The world of golf has lost a great friend and ambassador with Bev’s passing. Bev was a true professional, historian and friend of everyone that covered the PGA TOUR through the years." said Ty Votaw, Executive Vice President and Global Communications Officer, PGA TOUR. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bev’s family and friends."
The responsibilities of which he was most proud were editing and producing the U.S. Open and Open Championship annuals for the USGA and the R&A, respectively. He has been the sole editor of these publications which were first produced in 1984/1985, and has worked on these through this year. Around the same time, he assumed the responsibilities for compiling the enduring Mark H. McCormack annual, â€œThe World of Professional Golf," which he also edited all the way through the 2013 edition.
In his final email to his longtime friend, golf writer Dan Jenkins, Norwood wrote, "If it IS cancer, I just want you to know that I've been to 132 majors."
Over his career at IMG, he also produced a myriad of other official books about the PGA Championship, the Ryder Cup, and the President's Cup, many of which were sponsored by Rolex, a company with which he maintained an ongoing relationship for many years. He was also involved with many literary projects for some of the most eminent names in golf, including Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Greg Norman.
"Bev Norwood was a great storyteller, but he never wanted to be part of the story. He confronted his battle with cancer in recent weeks with a strength and fortitude that belied his small frame," said Alastair Johnston, vice chairman of IMG, in a written statement. “His wit and whimsical sense of humor, that were always so appealing to his friends and colleagues, never left him. For over 30 years Bev served IMG and its golf clients from the 'great and the grand' to the merely mortal as a respected writer friend in an era before publicists or PR specialists were en vogue."
Bev will be missed by many.