This story was from a long time ago. (you’ll know by the dollar figures) It may be paraphrased some, but it still makes the point.
Sam Snead played Wilson golf clubs as long as I can remember, maybe all his adult life. When I was a kid we all used Wilson clubs. I had a set of Arnold Palmers, but I had a Sam Snead Blue Ridge 7-iron ’cause my uncle lost the one with Arnie’s name on it, and the local hardware store didn’t have a match.
To cut down on expenses Snead often traveled with another pro. I think his name was Johnny Revolta. Revolta was a fine player, but not quite the marquee name of Sam Snead.
So the story goes, one of the executives called Snead into his office one day and said, “Sam, we don’t think you ought to be on the road with a pro who isn’t on the Wilson Staff.”
Sam said, (paraphrased) “Well sir, I always represent Wilson to the best of my ability, and I sure appreciate that five thousand dollars a year you send me to do so. But I have to tell you I can’t let you choose my friends for me.”
They decided they didn’t want to lose Sam, and let it drop.
I was impressed. If a fellow that would stand by his friends like that and take a chance on losing such an enormous sum of money he must be a good man. I always have admired loyalty.
I’ve tried to conduct my life that way too. A few times I got pretty far out on a limb, but never got it sawed off behind me so it’s all worked out okay so far. Ever so often they’d hack a little, but they always stopped sawing after they were given a chance to think on it. Maybe they figured if they caused old Dr. B to break a leg and anyone found out it’d be bad PR.
I know this. I still think of Sam when I see a set of Wilson golf clubs and dream maybe somehow I could ever swing like him on the right day. I don’t know who that executive was but I’ll give even odds he couldn’t break 90. Every so often I run across those clubs in the basement, and I always think how lucky Wilson was to have Sam Snead on their staff.
And if they were still alive I wouldn’t bet against a team of Sam Snead and Johnny Revolta; those cats could play.
I bet a hundred years from now folks will still remember the graceful golf swing of Slamming Sammy Snead, but my guess is that mid level executive’s name is lost to history, and I’m certain no one cares how much money he piled up, either.