With memorable golf career, Siderowf still swinging at age 72
Published 7:45 pm, Saturday, October 24, 2009
GREENWICH-- He started as a caddy, doing loops around the Stanley Country Club in New Britain. Dick Siderowf was just 10 or 11 years old. It was a couple of summers after World War II had ended, and he was looking to make a buck. Or two. So, he and a couple of buddies got jobs carrying clubs.
Pretty soon, Siderowf would take 45 cents of that hard-earned money and drag his own clubs around Stanley for nine holes. And it didn't take long for this to become almost a daily habit.
"Stanley was a public course and a couple of us liked to play so we started playing," Siderowf said. "Eventually, I got a job in the concession stand up there on Saturdays and Sundays and that gave me the privilege to play whenever I wanted during the week. We were kids, so we went around sometimes like three times on a nice summer's day. I'm talking about 54 holes."
From those lazy, hazy days of summer some 60-plus years ago to today, Siderowf is still playing golf, although these days, at age 72, it's just for fun �� and maybe a couple of dollars on the side. But for 40 years, the Westport resident was one of the greatest amateur golfers in the country. He won the British Amateur twice, played on four winning Walker Cup teams and captained the squad to victory in 1979.
He won three Connecticut Opens, five Connecticut Amateur titles and five Metropolitan Amateur crowns. He played on two Eisenhower Trophy teams. He played in eight Masters and three U.S. Opens, and he was elected to the Connecticut State Golf Association Hall of Fame in 1974.
On Monday night, Siderowf was inducted into the Fairfield County Sports Commission Hall of Fame during its annual "Sports Night" dinner at the Greenwich Hyatt.
Between 1955 and 1996, Siderowf competed in amateur championships. Two of his biggest wins were the 1973 and 1976 British Amateur titles, especially the second, which he won on the legendary St. Andrews course, defeating J.C. Davies in 37 holes.
"I had just won 17 (to tie the match) �� I'd been playing for something like eight days and I'm thinking, `Just don't blow it, don't hit it into the hotel on the right.' So I hit it way the hell to the left onto No. 1 tee area," Siderowf said, smiling at the memory. "But I had a clear shot (to 18). I hit it pretty close actually and missed the putt. I had like less than a 10-footer to win and I didn't hit a very good putt, and then (Davies) three-putted the next hole and I made a 4-footer and that was the end of it."
For a moment way back when, Siderowf thought of turning pro, but prize money was nowhere close to what it is today, so he went the business route instead, working for such companies as Blyth, Eastman, Dillon and Co., and RBC Dain Rauscher.
Another career highlight was being named the '79 Walker Cup captain and having a young gun named Hal Sutton lead the Americans to a 15½ to 8½ win over Great Britain and Ireland at Muirfield.
"That was fun. �� Sutton was playing like he was anointed. He was just driving the ball and putting and he was great in the Walker Cup," Siderowf said. "Fast forward: Sutton becomes a pro and he comes to Doral to play. I used to play at Doral (the Doral-Eastern Open) because the guy that owned the place would invite me to play as an amateur in the professional field. Sutton and I happened to get paired for the first two days and in those days, Julius (Boros, who grew up in Fairfield) was the pro over at Ventura, which is now Turnberry Isle.
"So he comes over to watch and we're walking down the third hole and Sutton goes, `Isn't that Julius Boros over there?' And I said, `Yeah.'
"`What the hell is he doing here?'"
"He came to watch me play."
And one last story.
"Sam Snead and I are playing together in the Masters and I got to 9 (tee) and I decide to hook it around the dogleg (left), but I hit a snapper into the woods and it hits a tree and bounces into the fairway," Siderowf said. "I then hit this great 3-wood to about 4 feet from the hole. Sam didn't say a word. We play on, we finish 18 and he says goodbye and he leaves.
"As luck would have it, Sam was receiving an award at a dinner like three months later and I was there. I see Sam coming down the stairs, so I walk up and said, `Sam, how ya doin?' And he goes, `That was a hell of a shot you hit on 9.'"
It's been a hell of a career. too.
Contact Chris Elsberry at email@example.com