Golf

A golf companion gone too soon

Bob Siravo passed away in his sleep on July 5. He was 73.
Bob Siravo passed away in his sleep on July 5. He was 73.

Bob Siravo was the guy you silently hoped to be paired with.

In golf, there isn’t a higher compliment.

Wish I had told him. He died unexpectedly in his sleep on July 5, the night before our group’s regular Wednesday morning game. He was 73 with so many rounds still to be played.

Siravo had it all as a playing companion. He was as gracious in victory as defeat. He putted them out and took bad bounces in stride. He could take ribbing and dish it out. He wasn’t a long hitter, but if someone wanted to play the tips, he didn’t flinch. If he wasn’t laughing, he was offering positive encouragement about a daunting shot or golf story.

For some people, golf is their life. My family accepted it. My mom accepted it. He loved the game and everything it stood for.

Bobby Siravo, on his father, Bob

He made your day better.

Siravo had a long career in the Air Force that included three tours in Vietnam as a C-130 navigator. He retired at Mather as a squadron commander. He then embarked on a second career in the credit union industry. He retired for good in 2009.

He was a loving husband to Trish, devoted father to Bobby and Susan. He was a grandfather of four.

Through it all and to the end, he was a golfer. A low single-digit handicapper in his prime and a 10 at the end, not the kind who laments what he used to be but enjoys what he is.

“For some people, golf is their life,” Bobby Siravo said. “My family accepted it. My mom accepted it. He loved the game and everything it stood for.”

Siravo enjoyed the fellowship that golf inspired almost as much as the game. He had reached a sweet spot in retirement with seven annual golf trips, each with a different group of buddies – military, business, golf clubs past and present. Thirty-six holes a day was the norm.

He loved Monterey and visited annually. At Spanish Bay on New Year’s Eve in 2000 playing in the late afternoon alongside Bobby, then a teaching professional, Siravo made holes in one on consecutive par-3s on the back nine.

For such an incredible feat, he didn’t get the attention it deserved.

“It was close to dark when we got done,” Bobby said. “We told the guys in the pro shop. They said, ‘Great, now get out of here, we have to close the doors.’ It was New Year’s Eve.

“So we go to dinner with my mom and my wife. They said, ‘Great.’ Not that it really meant anything to them.”

He had 10 good years of golf and friends ahead of him. There was no indication this was going to happen. He was strong, even when we found him. Like you wanted to plug him back in.

Bobby Siravo, on his father, Bob

Siravo had played golf six consecutive days before his death, walking all but one round. He drank little alcohol. He smoked cigars only on the course. He kicked the cigar habit for several years, and Trish only found out he had resumed because he started doing his own laundry to hide the evidence.

He took a lesson from area instructor Don Baucom two weeks ago. At 5-foot-5, Siravo liked to play a draw off the tee because the topspin gave him the roll and distance to compete with longer hitters. He was blocking his shots to the right and losing distance. He didn’t like that.

“He wasn’t releasing the club,” Baucom said. “The right hand was under the shaft too long. That’s all we worked on.”

Siravo recently told Trish he needed to get his legs stronger to generate more power in his golf swing. He continued to put sticky notes with swing thoughts on his car’s steering wheel.

He was still working on getting better.

“He had 10 good years of golf and friends ahead of him,” Bobby said. “There was no indication this was going to happen. He was strong, even when we found him. Like you wanted to plug him back in.”

And tell him what you thought before it was too late.

Et cetera – Six Rancho Murieta members attempted to parlay course knowledge into a berth in the U.S. Senior Open during sectional qualifying Monday. Folsom amateur Dennis Dachtler earned the bragging rights and medalist honors with a 2-under-par 70 at Murieta’s North course. Dave Capel, an amateur from Huntington Beach, nabbed the second qualifying berth in the 64-player field. The Senior Open is Aug. 11-14 at Scioto Country Club in Ohio.

▪ Sacramento’s Kyle Davies is headed to the U.S. Amateur after finishing second in a 36-hole qualifier Monday at Peach Tree. Roseville’s Corey Eddings is the first alternate. The U.S. Amateur is Aug. 15-21 at Oakland Hills Country Club in Michigan.

▪ Elk Grove’s Hunter Rappleye won the Monterey City Amateur at Del Monte.

Steve Pajak: 916-326-5526, @Steve_Pajak

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