MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG) — Greg Odom Jr. has been playing golf since he was a young child.
“They called my name of the intercom in like the 9th grade and said I won the tournament and it just skyrocketed from there,” Odom said.
When Odom thinks of the game of golf, it brings him back to Irene Golf Course in southeast Memphis, the place he was introduced to the game by father, Greg Odom Sr.
“He was there, at the beginning he was there,” said Odom. “And then he kind of got sick, so I started doing things solo and he just knew about it and couldn’t go to the events.”
Including his appearance at the PGA Works Collegiate Championship at the beginning of May.
“He was in the hospital like that week and I was like, ‘okay keep grinding’ because I thought he would fight through it because that’s happened before.”
His father, who battled chronic kidney failure for most of his son’s life, was placed in hospice care on the same day Odom arrived at the famed TPC Sawgrass in Florida.
He passed away the next day.
Odom immediately went to the place that’s comforted him for most of his life, the golf course.
“My getaway is the golf course because I’m at home with him and I get to see all of that and that wears down on certain people. So, I just stay at the golf course.”
“Just to ease the pain, I go to the golf course that same day – just keep going, ease the pain, ease the pain.”
Odom, a junior at Howard University, then went out and made his father proud, harnessing his pain as the Memphian went on to win the individual title at PGA Works, finishing 4-over for a 5-shot win.
“That week would’ve definitely been special for me to win, so I just had that in the back of my mind. Never let down Pops.”
He knows his father was watching over him over the three day event. After all, Pops has been right there since the very beginning.
“I just felt like he was with me the whole time. My whole golf career, I’ve felt like he was with me.”
That was Odom’s first collegiate tournament win.