About Bobby Wadkins
As competitive as he is, you’d get no argument from Bobby Wadkins if you characterized him as the second best golfer in his own family.
“I was never as good as Lanny,” said Bobby of his older brother. “I’m not ashamed to say that. I tried to catch him forever and couldn’t. All I can say is that he’s a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, but he never out-practiced me.”
Now, the 66-year-old Wadkins, a native and resident of Richmond, equals Lanny at least in one respect. Bobby is to be inducted into the Virginia Golf Hall of Fame two years after Lanny was a member of the Hall’s Inaugural Class.
Bobby, a former VSGA Amateur champion and a winner of three Virginia PGA Opens, amassed nearly $7.2 million in a professional golf career that began in 1973. He won four PGA Champions Tour events, including one major (the 2006 Senior Players) and seven other international events.
Looking back, Bobby credits Vinny Giles and Vern Spratley of Pros, Inc. with helping him get his pro career started. He also received help from Claiborne Robins, Jr., his sponsor for his first six years on the PGA Tour.
He had intermittent swing instructors on and off the Tour, but one teacher was constant—Lanny. “He has a great set of eyes,” Bobby said. “He could tell if my swing was off and what I could do to correct it.” When Bobby was playing well at a tournament, he could count on Lanny leaving notes of encouragement in his locker.
The brothers Wadkins were a dangerous pair in the Tuesday afternoon money games that were once a part of the Tour scene. “I never knew how much money we were playing for,” Bobby said. “I didn’t want to know. When the match was over, Lanny would hand me some cash and that would be it.”
Now, Lanny handed Bobby something else—a framed certificate that could enable Bobby to say to his brother, “Well, I at least tied you.”
In 2006, won the Ford Senior Players Championship, a major on the PGA Tour Champions.
Top-10 finishes in major championships (T4 at 1987 U.S. Open, T7 at 1987 PGA Championship)
Margin of victory in strokes in each of Wadkins’ four PGA Tour Champions victories
Wadkins European Tour Playoff record
Runner-up finishes in 715 PGA Tour starts
Achievements & Media
Special thanks to the USGA, PGA Tour, VSGA, MAPGA, WVGA and inductee family members for contributing photos and videos to this project.
Date of Birth: July 26, 1951
College: University of Houston; East Tennessee State University
Amateur achievements: Won the 1972 VSGA Amateur Championship, defeating fellow Virginia Golf Hall of Fame inductee Curtis Strange 2 and 1 in the title match.
Year turning pro: 1973
(*-denotes PGA Tour Champions win; bold indicates PGA Tour Champions major)
1972 VSGA Amateur
1978 European Open (European Tour)
1979 Dunlop Phoenix (Japan Golf Tour)
1981 VPGA Open
1982 VPGA Open
1983 VPGA Open
1986 Dunlop Phoenix (Japan Golf Tour)
1990 Fred Meyer Challenge (with Lanny Wadkins)
2001 Lightpath Long Island Classic – *
2006 The Boeing Championship at Sandestin – *; Ford Senior Players Championship – *
2007 The ACE Group Classic