Bob Boyd, a much loved and respected member of the European Senior Tour, sadly lost his five year battle with acute myeloid leukemia on Monday morning. He was 55.
The American, from Wilmington, North Carolina, was a stalwart of the Senior Tour over the past six years, winning the Castellón Costa Azahar Open de España Senior in 2005 after qualifying for the Tour as winner of the Qualifying School in 2004.
European Senior Tour Managing Director Andy Stubbs led the tributes. “Bob Boyd was a great guy who became a wonderful friend to us all on the Senior Tour and we offer our sincere condolences to his wife Pamela and their son McLean at this sad time,” he said.
“As well as being a very good golfer, he was wonderful company both on the course to his fellow professionals and amateur partners and to everyone off the course associated with our tournaments. We will miss him very much.”
Indeed a number of fellow Senior Tour professionals posted their own thoughts on the Wilmington Star News website after they broke the news of his passing; John Bland – who beat Boyd in a play-off for the Bad Ragaz PGA Seniors Open in 2009 – summing up the mood of everyone when he said: “We will remember Bob fondly as a gentleman and a great golfer.”
Known for his accurate driving and exceptional iron play, Boyd won in Spain on his rookie Senior Tour year but did not feature at all during 2006 as he took time off to focus his energies on fighting the cancer. He underwent a successful bone marrow transplant in June 2006 and was well enough to start playing golf again that winter.
In December of that year he achieved something many people thought would not be possible again – he won another golf tournament, the Carolinas PGA Crowfield Senior Open in his home North Carolina State. It was another feather in his cap Stateside where he was inducted into the Carolinas PGA Golf Professional Hall of Fame in February 2008 and the section’s Player of the Year award was named in his honour. He also played in ten US PGA Championships and five US Open Championships.
A fierce competitor with an outgoing personality, he returned to tournament golf on a limited basis in 2007 and resumed a full European Senior Tour schedule in 2008 before enjoying his most consistent season in Europe in 2009 where he finished 18th on the Order of Merit thanks largely to runners-up finishes in play-offs – to Bland in Bad Ragaz and to Ian Woosnam in the Irish Seniors Open.
Unfortunately, chest tumors were discovered during a doctor’s visit last August, a couple of weeks after he played in the Senior Open Championship at Carnoustie so he returned to hospital in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He underwent a second bone marrow transplant at Chapel Hill in mid-January but his body rejected it.