By Ken MacLeod
Cary Cozby will be the new director of golf at Southern Hills Country Club beginning in January of 2015.
Cozby, 45, has been the head golf professional since 2000 and chief executive officer since 2005 at Wichita Country Club. He was previously an assistant at Southern Hills from 1995-2000.
"I couldn’t be more excited," Cozby told Golf Oklahoma Tuesday. "It was a difficult decision as this place is awesome and we have so many friends here. Wichita Country Club gave me an opportunity when I was an assistant. You could not have asked for a better club to work for. At the same time, I’m from Oklahoma and Southern Hills is the mecca of Oklahoma golf. It’s the Yankees to me."
Cozby will replace Dave Bryan, director of golf for the past 26 years at Southern Hills. Bryan’s contract extends through the end of 2014.
"We’ve had a great professional in Dave Bryan and Cary will be a great replacement and carry on the tradition," said Nick Sidorakis, Southern Hills general manager. "He’s clearly at the top of the industry. He brings a tremendous amount of knowledge on the golf side and he’s been the CEO since 2005, so he brings a lot of experience to the table that other candidates didn’t have. He has all the necessary qualities we wanted in a director of golf."
Cozby is the eldest son of Karole and Jerry Cozby of Bartlesville. Jerry was the long-time head professional at Hillcrest Country Club, raising three boys who all went on to play for the University of Oklahoma in Cary, Craig and Chance. All three are still in the golf business, with Craig serving as a rep for Ping and Chance running the PGA Tour department for Ping.
Cary remembers going to the 1977 U.S. Open at Southern Hills when he was eight years old. He had a white cup with a blue logo that listed all the U.S. Open winners and he had them memorized.
"I remember standing near Lee Trevino and Arnold Palmer," Cary said. "To come back here, when I’m from Oklahoma, my wife is from Stillwater, I played at OU. And Southern Hills is one of the best clubs in the nation."
Cozby overcame a bout with cancer in 2004 that caused him to miss 75 days of work while receiving chemotherapy. In one way, he said that episode tied the two jobs together for him.
"I missed a lot of work and the guys at Wichita never said anything but ‘we love you,’ " Cozby said. "On the other side, I had my operation in Tulsa and the anesthesiologist said, ‘Are you Coz?’ I told him yeah, and he said ‘there’s a bunch of guys at Southern Hills that are going to kill me if I let anything happen to you.’ So obviously I have friends here who I’m looking forward to seeing again. That really just tied the two places together for me."
Cozby has won the South Central PGA Professional of the Year award in 2003, 2009 and 2010, and has been honored with numerous other section awards. He will be joined in Tulsa by his wife Staci and son Banks. Proud papa Jerry could not be happier.
"Wichita Country Club could not have been better to him or us as a family," Jerry said. "At the same time, we’re a golf family in Oklahoma and big believers in Oklahoma golf. Southern Hills is what it’s all about, so yeah, we’re thrilled."
Cary Cozby’s PGA South Central Section Awards and offices
South Central PGA Section President
South Central PGA Golf Professional of the Year
2003, 2009, 2010
South Central PGA Bill Strausbaugh Award Winner
2009, 2011, 2013
South Central PGA Horton Smith Award Winner
2003, 2004, 2005
South Central PGA Private Merchandiser of the Year
2002, 2007, 2010, 2014
PGA of America Private Merchandiser of the Year
PGA President’s Council on Growing the Game
2007, 2008, 2009, 2010
Played in PGA Professional National Championship
2006, 2009, 2012, 2014
Member of PGA of America Tournament Committee