Tunneyside of Sports: A pro golfer’s lesson on moving on

PUBLISHED: February 10, 2019 at 2:27 pm | UPDATED: February 10, 2019 at 2:27 pm


After further review…With the conclusion of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am golf tournament (with a bit of Crosby weather thrown in), the Monterey Peninsula Foundation will annually contribute money in millions of dollars to local charities.

It has done so for many years. This tournament includes well known celebrities in its pro-am field, as well as leading pros on the PGA Tour, thereby drawing massive crowds.

A few years back professional golfer Jeff Sluman was one of those who regularly played in this tournament. His friend and mine, local banker Clay Larson, tells this story about how one moves on after a difficult time.


Larson calls it  “Cure for Disappointment.” Larson’s teenage son, Derek, asked Sluman if he would help improve his game. Sluman agreed, suggesting a get together on Sunday after the final day of the tournament.

However, in that final round on Sunday, Sluman made a 22-foot putt to tie Mark O’Meara for the lead. The two went into sudden death starting on the 16th tee at Pebble Beach.

Both Sluman and O’Meara reached the 16th fringe in two. O’Meara chipped his ball in for a birdie. Sluman’s 40-foot putt died short. O’Meara won that AT&T tournament on the first playoff hole.

Watching on TV, Clay and Derek groaned. Being concerned that since it’s been a long week with a tough loss, there was no chance for Sluman would meet up with Derek. So, they headed off to their favorite golf course to play a few holes.

As they were putting out on the 15th, down the path walked Sluman and said, “Hi guys, I knew I’d find you here.” Both Clay and Derek were stunned to see Sluman appear with apparent ease and a smile on his face.

“Come on Derek,” Sluman said. “Grab your clubs. Let’s play 16, 17, and 18, I want to see your golf swing.” They played those three holes with Sluman assessing and critiquing every shot, every minor improvement in Derek’s swing mechanics.

Sluman had just finished 19 holes of professional golf, lost the AT&T by one shot in sudden death, yet he was willing to spend time with a teenager to help him with his golf swing.

Will you be willing to help others after you have suffered a disappointment?