Norman Wood (1947 – 2023)

Norman Wood (1947 – 2023)


Norman Wood, a PGA Professional who defeated Lee Trevino in the 1975 Ryder Cup, has passed away at the age of 76 following a short illness.

Norman was born in Prestonpans, East Lothian, and, having turned pro in 1965, began his career as an assistant at Turnberry.

He was elected to PGA Membership in 1969, a year after exhibiting his prowess as a player by winning the Scottish Assistants’ Championship.

Norman followed up with back-to-back victories in the Scottish Coca-Cola Tournament before resisting the challenge of Brian Huggett to win the Italian Open in 1972.

It proved to be his solitary success on what was to become the European Tour, although he won the Jamaica Open in 1973 and was runner up to Gary Player in the 1974 Australian Open at Lake Karrinyup a year later.

Back at home, Norman proved a model of consistency in tournaments – he qualified for the Open Championship for eight years in succession from 1970 to 1977 and an excellent start to the season midway through that sequence earned him selection for the 1975 Ryder Cup.

The match, played at Laurel Valley Golf Club, Pennsylvania, ended in a 21-11 victory for the hosts and marked the last time a Great Britain and Ireland team contested the encounter in the USA as players from continental Europe joined the fray in 1979.

It proved a memorable occasion for Norman and his compatriot and 1975 World Cup partner Brian Barnes, however. The latter defeated Jack Nicklaus twice in one day and, despite losing his two pairs’ matches, Norman beat five-time major winner Trevino 2 and 1 in the singles.

Norman recalled in an interview with Scotland on Sunday in 2021 that Trevino had not spoken to him early on before becoming more loquacious when the Scot got his nose in front.

“He’d been known for that, of course,” said Norman. “(Tony) Jacklin hated playing with him. Everybody hated playing with him, in fact.

“When I won the eighth to go one up, he just started to yak, yak, yak all the time on the way to the ninth tee. The crowds were laughing at him, but I am sure it was deliberate, but that was him, he was an entertainer and, you know, good luck.”

Back problems restricted Norman’s European Tour appearances thereafter and, having left Turnberry in 1977, he spent the next five years at Sandy Lane, Barbados, before becoming the head pro at the Royal Guernsey Golf Club in the Channel Islands.

Roy Bushby, the club’s current general manager, knew Norman for close on 40 years after joining him as an assistant in 1985.

“I was with him for almost five years before moving abroad to Austria,” he recalled, “and then when I returned as general manager in 2003, I had another four with him before he retired.

“He had a massive effect on my career, and we became very close. As well as working together we played golf together.

“And the way he treated people rubbed off on me, especially when coaching. He was a real gentleman, and no one had a bad word to say about him. In fact, he was regarded as a gentleman first and golfer second!”

Norman’s retirement came a decade after he had achieved his best result on the European Seniors Tour when he finished third in the Manadens Affarer Seniors Open in Sweden.

Royal Guernsey made Norman an honorary member following his retirement and he continued to play there – that was when he wasn’t distracted by his other interests.

“He loved fishing,” Bushby added. “Indeed, if he was going away on a golf trip, he packed his rods before his clubs. And he was a keen bird-watcher – he was often out on the course with his binoculars. He’ll be greatly missed.”

Norman is survived by Carol, his wife of almost 50 years, daughters Diana and Marnie, son-in-law Brendan, and a loving grandfather of Cleo and Primrose.


Our Partners

  • Air IT
  • Banyan Tree
  • The Belfry
  • Coca-Cola
  • EVC
  • FootJoy
  • Gleneagles
  • PING
  • St. James's Place
  • Therabody
  • Titleist