BC's Roger Sloan On Making The Most Of His Second Chance On The PGA TOUR. . .And The Beatles

Merritt, BC's Roger Sloan Has His Golf Game In A Groove Of Late. And, Yes, He Does Know Something About Liverpool's Fab Four, Despite What Peter Kostis Thinks - Sloan Image Credit Alfie Lau/BC Golf (Beatles Image Used With Consent)

By Brad Ziemer, British Columbia Golf

Roger Sloan wasn’t born Yesterday. Of course he knows who the Beatles are. Sloan, the 32-year-old Merritt product who is wrapping up a successful season on the PGA TOUR, laughs when the subject of the Fab Four is broached. “That is a funny story,” Sloan says.

It was at the John Deere Classic earlier this month when CBS golf analyst Peter Kostis suggested on air that Sloan, who was in contention that week, didn’t really know anything about John, Paul, Ringo and George. Sloan says that could not be further from the truth.

It all started on the Saturday morning when Sloan and his caddie were on the range warming up before the third round. Sloan had gone to see the movie Yesterday the previous evening and he and his caddie were trying to remember exactly when the band broke up. At that moment, Kostis and CBS colleague Ian Baker-Finch walked onto the range.

“So I thought, I will ask these two guys,” Sloan says in a telephone interview. “They kind of rattled off the dates, they didn’t know exactly, but we started talking about the Beatles. I told them that my wife walked down the aisle to 'Here Comes the Sun' by the Beatles and then Peter Kostis told a great story about Yoko Ono because he lived in the Dakota after John Lennon died there.

So we are talking about the Beatles and then I find out that out of that entire conversation he got the idea that I didn’t know anything about the Beatles. “It is so perplexing. Of anybody who was warming up at that time, I probably knew the most about the Beatles. I couldn’t believe it. It was funny, but it made me look like I lived under a rock. Who doesn’t know who the Beatles are? Come on.”

That is just one memory Sloan will have of the John Deere. Another much more meaningful one will be that Sloan clinched his exempt status for the 2019-20 PGA TOUR season with his tie for 10th finish there. Sloan has made the most of his second chance on the PGA TOUR.

He enters this week’s Barracuda Championship in Reno, Nev., 103rd on the FedEx Cup points list, safely inside the top 125. The regular-season winds up next week at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. and then it's on to the playoffs. Sloan, who resides in Houston, took last week off to recharge his batteries and reflect on what has been a rewarding year.

“It was comforting to lock it up at the John Deere,” he says. “That takes a lot of pressure off to know we can rest and recover and don’t have to have those lingering thoughts about your job for next year. It is extremely satisfying, but at the same time exciting to see where our game is going and where we can take this train.”

Sloan has been on a nice roll of late. Heading into the Reno event, Sloan had shot 12 straight sub-par rounds and his last 11 rounds have been in the 60s. He credits work with his swing coach Jeff Barton and mental coach Paul Dewland for his solid play this year.

Sloan returned to the PGA TOUR this year after having to return to the Korn Ferry Tour following what was a disappointing rookie season on the PGA TOUR in 2015. He made only seven of 20 cuts that year and with the benefit of hindsight acknowledges he was overwhelmed by his surroundings as a rookie in 2015.

“There are so many different storylines -- all the money you are playing for, world rankings -- that can tempt your ego to run wild and distract you from what the actual job at hand is,” Sloan says. “And that’s just to hit a golf ball into the fairway and then go hit it onto the green and try to make a putt. And all the storylines put so much emphasis and unneeded pressure on every shot and I crumbled under that pressure my first year out here.

“There were a lot of things that just overwhelmed me and as a result restricted my access to my skills. So this year it has been nice to see the work that Paul and I put in, as well as Jeff, bear fruit. We are able to access my skills and I know I do have the necessary skills to be able to contend on the PGA TOUR. It has been a fun year.”

image courtesy Hawaii Tourism

Roger Sloan Paired With Mid-Pacific junior Davis Lee To Win The Hawaii Tourism Authority Pro-Junior Challenge at Waialae Country Club In January. The Event Paired Five PGA Professionals With Five Top Junior Players. The 3-hole Tournament Helped Raise $10,000 For The Hawaii State Junior Golf Association

It has been a year he has shared with his wife Casey and their nearly two-year-old daughter Leighton. The three of them travel together on tour and soon they will be a foursome. Sloan and his wife are expecting their second child in early December.

Sloan says becoming a parent has benefitted his game. Although Sloan thinks he has always had his priorities straight, the arrival of Leighton just solidified them. “It puts things in perspective, that what you do for a living isn’t the most important thing -- not that I ever put golf as my No. 1,” Sloan says.

“But again, it just reassures you that there are more important things to life than what you do for a living. For me it is faith, my family and then it’s my job. That’s how I look at things and with the addition of children it definitely puts an emphasis towards the family.

“More than anything it really helps keep you level with your emotional responses, whether you have had a really good round or a really bad round it is so cool to see a child because it doesn’t matter what dad shot. It doesn’t matter that dad winged one out of bounds on the last hole, it doesn’t matter that he just shot 61. You are still my dad and I love you and give me ice cream.”

Sloan is excited about participating in the PGA TOUR playoffs for the first time. “Maybe that Canadian hockey player in me will kind of get going in the playoffs and really do some damage,” he says. Whenever his playoff run ends, Sloan hopes to slip in a trip back home to visit his family in Merritt. He may even sneak in a round at Merritt Golf & Country Club, where he holds the course record.

“I haven’t teed it up at Merritt since 2012, when I shot my course record 58,” he says with a laugh. “It is one those things because you know you are never going to get close to what you just did. I haven’t spent a lot of time in the summer in Merritt recently. Hopefully, maybe we can get a round in this year. That would be a treat.”

Yes, as the Beatles might say, that would really be Something.