News & ToursJune 5, 2010

Lehman: Meeting Wooden 'one of the highlights of my life'

DUBLIN, Ohio -- When Tom Lehman was preparing for his stint as captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2006, he sought an audience with legendary basketball coach John Wooden, who as he was wont to do left an indelible impression.

"I think there are two men I've met in my life who had that something about them that was just remarkable and memorable and relevant always, and that was Byron Nelson and John Wooden," Lehman said Saturday, a day after Wooden died. "Those are two of the most impressive people I ever met. Both lived a full life. John Wooden lived a very full life ... 99 years. He was the ultimate teacher. In what little time I spent with him it was obvious to me how much he loved the people that he taught and he worked with. Our world is going to miss him. Even at 99 he was still relevant and still contributing to society.

"Met him in February 2006 during the LA Open. Went to his house. One of the highlights of my life. I was really impressed with him. There are so many people he gave to. Throughout our conversation he ended up looking me in the eye and saying, 'Don't be concerned about your image and your reputation. That's who people think you are. The only thing that matters is your character, who you really are on the inside; focus on that, be more concerned about that.' That's the way he was. You talk about integrity, doing what you say you're going to do, who you really are ... that was him -- a man of incredible integrity and character."

-- Dave Shedloski and John Strege

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