Bev Norwood, a golf writer, editor and guiding hand as a public relations man with IMG, died Wednesday at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio after a short battle with cancer. He was 66.
If you were in the golf business, you knew Norwood, a fixture at tournaments who told the stories at big events before turning his expertise to helping IMG tell the stories. A Wake Forest graduate, Norwood (pictured above on the left with Doc Giffin, personal assistant to Arnold Palmer) got his start in the business as a sports writer, working for the Winston-Salem Journal in North Carolina before IMG hired him in the mid-70s as an editor for one of its publications. His duties would grow to include managing the media center for Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill in Palmer’s annual PGA Tour event.
“I am very saddened by the passing, which came so suddenly,” Palmer said. “We will certainly miss his dry wit and the hard work he put into everything he has done for us over the years. He was a great guy and a good friend.”
Ron Sirak, a golf writer for The Associated Press before becoming executive editor at Golf World, noted Norwood’s unique place in the game in a story after his friend’s passing.
“Bev was, as a colleague of mine once said, like a mid-level CIA agent no one paid much attention to who had crucial information pass across his desk,” Sirak wrote. “He knew it all.”
Norwood spent most of his life with IMG.
“Bev Norwood was a great storyteller, but he never wanted to be part of the story,” IMG vice chairman Alistair Johnston said in a written statement. “He confronted his battle with cancer in recent weeks with a strength and fortitude that belied his small frame. 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.”