On the TUNNEYSIDE of SPORTS July 20, 2015 #550 Up next… A Tribute to “Laws”!
After further review…Growing up in Pebble Beach, California has to be a fortunate circumstance. Pebble beach has the aura of paradise throughout much of the world, and especially the world of golf. With a family home situated on Fairway One of one of the most famous golf courses in the world, one could be forgiven for feeling somehow special, or endowed with “certain unalienable rights.” That’s one highly prized backyard!
Lawson Little III was that fortunate resident. But he never translated it that way, never thought in those terms. He never considered himself special or entitled in any way. Yet, he was special, though by a completely different measure. Lawson III, who died recently of the rare blood disorder septicemia, had a special gift for making everyone he met feel uniquely deserving. He was a lifelong talented athlete, as competitive as they come, but his most dominant characteristic was helping others.
His father, W. Lawson Little, Jr. was considered by many as the “most dominant amateur golfer in the history of the game.” He won the U.S. Amateur and the British Amateur tournaments back-to-back in 1935 and 1936, a feat known in the golfing world as the Little Slam – it was, indeed, the “Little” slam! He won 32 consecutive matches during that time. In 1935, Jr. was awarded the prestigious Sullivan Award as amateur of the year. Turning professional in 1936, he won the U.S. Open in 1940, and, was inducted (posthumously) into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1980.
With that history of golfing celebrity illuminating his background, “Laws” (as we called him), never “piggybacked” on his father’s fame. Laws’ own claim to fame was what he did for his family and for virtually everyone he encountered. Laws picked up golf balls and worked in the pro shop at Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club (Carmel Valley) as he earned his way through life. He ventured into real estate and developed Quail Meadows, considered one of the finest properties in the valley. He later became the President of Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club.
Laws raised a lot of money for local charities via signature events that he brought to Quail Lodge: The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering; The Quail Rally; and The Eagle Cup. He was a contributing board member of the Jim Tunney Youth Foundation, and was instrumental in fundraising for local community youth organizations. He served on many community boards.
In 2009, Laws was awarded “Ambassador of the Year” by the California Golf Writers Hall of Fame, an honor he neither sought nor talked about. He will be remembered as a friend and a goodwill ambassador with a loving spirit and a lifetime of giving. Laws never remembered what he gave, but never forgot what he was given.
Will you pattern your life by helping others as Laws did?
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