"I always felt I could do better in business," says Siderowf. "I felt I could build up something to do better every year, rather than play the tour where the average age is about 35. When a guy out there gets to be 40, he has to look to get into something else. In business, when you're 40 you're just starting to have your good years. When you think of a pro winning $40,000 in one swoop, it looks pretty good, but a lot of guys do that on one business deal. And they do it for years and years."
In a way, golf goes with Siderowfs profession the way lemon goes with iced tea. It does not hurt to be introduced to a client as "the British Amateur champion," then play golf with the guy and drill a one-iron shot at the flagstick. That impresses people. The one-iron! They think, "How does he get it off the ground?" In fact, most of the top over-30 amateurs have professions where birdies can help close deals—players like lawyer and athlete's agent Vinny Giles, insurance man Bill Hyndman, auto dealer Ed Tutwiler, and furniture-hardware salesman Dale Morey. Still, they all would like you to believe there is no relationship between business and pleasure. "It's pretty hard to mix golf with business," protests Siderowf. "People think you go out and play golf with a client, and the guy buys 10,000 shares the next day. But it doesn't work that way. During the summer I'm in the office early, and I always put in 10-hour days in the winter."
Siderowf no doubt would be more of a celebrity if he needed down-range tracking on his tee shots or his putter were a deadly weapon. His game is not spectacular, just solid through the bag, and because Siderowf is an admirer of the unpretentious Ben Hogan, his raiment is as unspectacular as Ben's. Even his golf gloves are black. "Whenever I buy a new suit," he says, "Topsy accuses me of keeping the same old one; all my suits are either dark blue or gray. Once I went to my barber and asked him to give me the contemporary look. Well, he used one of those blowers and fluffed my hair all up, but it looked terrible and we both knew it."
"We decided the wet look was better for him," Topsy says.
So, wet head and plain, Siderowf will be playing in his 17th U.S. Amateur next week—and still seeking his first championship. And he will be one of the few contestants for whom the tournament has special meaning. You see, he is an amateur, and always will be.