On Tuesday, he was pushed to the forefront.
The tournament will be played for the 25th time next month, and when the competitors tee it up at Elizabethton Golf Course, the event will have a new name: the William B. Greene Jr. East Tennessee Amateur.
A news conference was held Tuesday morning to announce the new name and release details about the popular tournament, which will be held July 5-7.
“It humbles me,” Greene said. “It felt undeserving, quite frankly. I didn’t know about it until they came down to the bank and told me. I want to thank all the people who had anything to do with that. I really appreciate it.”
Greene, chairman, president and CEO of Banctenn Corp., was instrumental in getting the tournament going in its early days. His Carter County Bank sponsored the event and he ensured that it became a Tennessee Golf Association points event.
Greene, who played golf and basketball at Wake Forest, is a former president of the TGA. He was also instrumental in founding the Tennessee Golf Foundation.
“It’s second to none,” tournament director Mike Matheson said of Greene’s support of the tournament. “I’ve never asked him for anything that he didn’t get us. He is golf in East Tennessee. What he’s done for ETSU, what he’s done for us ... we wouldn’t be here without the bank’s sponsorship.”
Carter County Bank has sponsored the tournament since its inception, and Greene said it will continue to do so.
“As much as they need. Whatever it takes,” he said. “Carter County Bank is so happy to do this. When I come out on Sunday and I watch Mike Matheson give that championship trophy and all those flight trophies away, it’s a warm spot in your heart. East Tennessee has equal or better golfers than the rest of the state of Tennessee. I know about that because I’ve probably played with everybody in the state of Tennessee at one time or another, and probably every course.”
Greene’s name also is on the Warren-Greene Golf Center at East Tennessee State as well as the school’s football stadium.
This will be the second East Tennessee Amateur held since Hampton Golf took over the day-to-day operations of course. Pro/general manager Chad Odum had been on the job for a short time when last year’s tournament was held.
“It’s interesting to see what Hampton Golf has done in upgrading the caliber of Elizabethton Golf Course,” Greene said. “You look at the junior programs we have here. Golf is a different sport than any other sport in the world. Golf is the only sport in the world where you don’t have referees, umpires or anyone telling you what to do. Golf teaches integrity, honesty and responsibility.”
Tyler Lane is the defending ETA champion. Lane won by five shots last year with a three-day total of 13 under par. Mike Wood is the defending senior champion.
Registration is underway. The entry fee, which includes three tournament rounds, a practice round, lunch each day, carts, range balls and a special gift from Carter County Bank, is $115 for Elizabethton members and $165 for non-members.
Call (423) 543-8051 to enter.