WM Phoenix Open executive director has more TikTok followers than Rickie Fowler, Ian Poulter

  • In Sports/Golf
  • 2023-02-08 13:00:19Z
  • By USA TODAY Sports - Golfweek

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - When Chance Cozby isn't cooking up the game plan to make the WM Phoenix Open bigger and better, he can be found on social media platforms cooking up a storm for his millions of followers.

Cozby, the 47-year-old executive director of the Thunderbirds, the host organization that runs the WM Phoenix Open, has more than 1 million followers between TikTok and Instagram and garnered over 12.2 million likes on his TikTok channel, 3 Pieces of Pecan.

The name is an homage to his father, Jerry, the head pro for 42 years at Hillcrest Country Club in Bartlesville, Oklahoma (and 2012 Golfweek Father of the Year), who died in August 2020.  Chance's love of food and cooking stems from childhood Mondays spent on the back patio when his father had the day off and they'd smoke ribs on their custom-built, offset smoker. It didn't have a temperature gauge, but that wasn't a problem for Jerry, who instructed his son to "just keep three pieces of Oklahoma pecan on the fire and the temperature will be just right."

Cozby's mother, Karoline, taught him how to cook in the kitchen and also inspired his love of cooking. Preparing big meals and gathering friends and family together has always been one of his passions. On New Year's Eve 2020, Cozby's youngest son, Catcher, convinced him to let him film and post his family meal prep. Cozby didn't even have a TikTok account so they needed a handle.

"It took 10 seconds to decide," Cozby said. "We need to name it 3 Pieces of Pecan after dad."

Simple meals and dishes such as one pot spaghetti, "roasted broccoli even your kids will eat" and salsa have been big hits. He's racked up over 200 million views with his takes on Tex-Mex and traditional Oklahoma BBQ, and officially hit the big time when ABC's "Good Morning America" called and asked to come to the house to film a Father's Day segment.

"I thought it was a joke," Cozby said. (He also invited Golf.com to his home last year.)

What began as a lark has become a fun hobby for father and son, who pump out an average of 1-3 videos per week depending on how busy Cozby's schedule is. (Catcher is director, cinematographer and video editor of the team.)

Golf has been a family affair for the Cozbys, known as the "the first family of Oklahoma golf." In addition to father Jerry being inducted in the PGA Hall of Fame, Chance's brother Cary is the director of golf at Southern Hills in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the 2016 PGA Professional of the Year, and Craig, a two-time University of Oklahoma All-American, is a sales representative with Ping, where Chance formerly worked. But there's only one celebrity chef in the family.

"Last year, I did a themed dish for every event on the PGA Tour," Chance said, including one video for every day of the Phoenix Open. "They all sent me a T-shirt or hoodie that I wore in the videos and it was just a cool way to promote the PGA Tour and intertwine my work with my passion. And it probably helped me get some followers too."

Not to mention more than 50 million page views for that series of videos alone. As Cozby put it, the best plan was no plan.

"At the start you're just trying to do something fun with your kid," he told Golf.com. "There were no monetary goals. There were no goals, period. I've had a lot of people say, because of you, I'm now cooking a couple meals a week for my family. I think that's pretty cool."

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek


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