A Round With Jeff Sluman

September 14, 2017

You requested an ice-cold Diet Coke, not a Pepsi. Is that an important distinction?

Well, yeah. Drink what you like, right?

You’re also a wine guy, with an impressive selection in your cellar.

I’ve got a few nice bottles—mostly California Cabernets with some Washington State mixed in, along with French, Spanish, Italian—maybe 1,400 bottles. You can have a good party at the house.

Your houseguests must make a beeline right for your stash.

Hey, wine is to be shared with friends.

You recently sold your house in Chicago. What was the city like last fall during the Cubs’ World Series run?

I was out of town for the entire seven games. But I [went] to Game Six when we clinched [the National League title] against the Dodgers. It was crazy— 30,000 people in the streets outside Wrigley. It was just fantastic.

Bill Murray is a good friend of yours and is also a Cubs fan. You two have played together many times. What’s he like?

He’s a very wonderful, down-to-earth and humble guy. And extremely funny, of course. I’ve spent more fun nights with him than you can imagine. He’s just delightful. Very generous, giving, charitable—a guy that you’d like to spend time with. And I think everyone recognizes that.

You won six times on the PGA Tour, and your first victory was a biggie—the 1988 PGA Championship. With so much talk about majors, winning one out of the gates must take the pressure off, right?

It does, but it can put a lot of pressure on, too, because of expectations. When you win a major for your first [win], you start to think, “I’m never supposed to hit a bad shot again.” And that leads you down a bad road, and it did for a while with me. Then you realize you’re not any better the next day after winning a major, and you’re not any worse. You just gotta continue working hard and sticking to your fundamentals. But winning a major was the thrill of a lifetime, certainly.

You’ve racked up another six wins on the Champions Tour. To what do you attribute your success over the years?

A lot of luck. You gotta be very lucky not to get a major injury. If I’m not feeling good, I immediately go and try to get it fixed, so that I’ll feel better the next week. And you try to be proactive, instead of reactive, with any part of your body that’s sore or hurting.

So taking care of yourself is a key to winning—and so is making big putts, right?

That makes things feel a lot better, that’s for sure.