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Sleepy Dye Blog

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Plenty of people have found inspiration in the company of a fine single malt scotch. 

On a recent night in Scotland, I did just that without taking a sip.

I’d done a story five years ago on The Dunvegan Hotel, a downwind 3-wood from the 18th green at The Old Course. Jack Willoughby, a Texas oilman, and his wife, Sheena, bought The Dunvegan in the ‘90s and lovingly turned it into a mainstay mostly for Americans looking for a good steak and real bathrooms.

This past June, on assignment for The British Open, I dropped by to say hello. The Dunvegan was humming mostly with guys recounting the day’s rounds at North Berwick or The Old Course or Carnoustie or Kingsbarns or any of the other courses in the area.

Our camera crew set up to interview Sheena and Jack. Having already done a lengthy piece on them, I intended only to have them provide me with background to use in another story on St. Andrews.

Sheena, bright and passionate, explained that so many people who visit bring more than just golf clubs. They bring profound emotion. She spoke of a man dying of cancer who’d come over to play his final rounds.

Just that night, she said, there was a group of 16 returning from golf. The ring leaders were carrying on a tradition established by their father more than 15 years ago. He’d died of cancer just before a planned trip to The Old Course. 

Inspiration began to flow like McCallan on a cold night.

The man’s name was Sleepy Dye, a Tallahassee attorney. How he ended up, years after his passing, at The Dunvegan Hotel surrounded by his progeny and all those bottles of scotch is a sweet, funny and soulful story worth watching.

It airs in the season finale of Golf in America....