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Mr. Theodore Anthony Sliman
Nickname: Theo

603 Dodson St.
New Iberia, LA 70563

Head Golf Coach
UL Athletic Department
100 Club Blvd.
Broussard, LA 70518
Home Phone:
Work Phone:
In November I married Mary Montgomery and hope to continue my golf career in the near future.

Golf: Louisiana Open offers homecoming for Sliman

Dan McDonald

It's a homecoming for Theo Sliman this week.
He doesn't have to go far from his Broussard home to take part in the Chitimacha Louisiana Open, but it's still sort of like coming home. After all, it was only a couple of years ago that Sliman was on the golf staff at Le Triomphe, working the counter and rounding up carts.

Now he's in the field for the Nationwide Tour event, going off the No. 10 tee at 2:20 p.m. today in what he hopes will be a series of Nationwide starts. He's been honing his game on the Tight Lies and Hooters tours along with state opens over the past couple of summers.

"The mini-tours are great to learn what it's like in professional competitive golf," Sliman said Wednesday, "because there's a big difference from amateur and collegiate competition. It teaches you how to budget, how to travel. But I don't want to play mini-tours all my life. If you're happy on the mini-tours, your heart and mind aren't in the right place."
Sliman is in the Open field on a sponsor's exemption, hoping to hold Nationwide status by next season. He missed out at Q-school last year, but he said that wasn't a bad experience.

"I shot myself out of it the first round, and it was integrity that made me stay the whole time," he said. "But I got a call when it was over and I was able to get home in time for my son's birth."

He won't be far from his family for this week's event, and in the company of a second family at Le Triomphe.

"The people here are special," he said. "I made good friends there, and golf just happened to be what made the acquaintance. I value the friendships more than the golf."

NOT HOME ALONE: Chris Riley also won't have to go far following his 8:15 a.m. opening Open round today. Married to Lafayette native and former LPGA golfer Michelle Louviere, Riley's at the in-laws this weekend.

"The grandkids get to see the grandparents," Riley said Wednesday. "They're all hanging out at the house."

Riley, a member of the 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup team, is in next week's PGA Tour Shell Houston Open and will probably play an equal number of PGA and Nationwide events this year around family obligations.

"It's different now," Riley said of having two-year-old Taylor (born just before the Ryder Cup) and nine-month-old Rose. "Before, for both Michelle and I, it was just golf. Now it's totally 360 degrees difference. Playing golf and having a family, there's sacrifices on both sides.

"I went four weeks last year without seeing them, and that was hard. One of the toughest parts about being in pro golf is finding that balance, and I'm going through the process of learning that."

BUSY STREAK: This year's Nationwide Tour takes a detour out of what was a traditional Southern tour in the past after this week's Louisiana Open. Next week's stop is a second-year event, the Livermore Valley Wine Country Championship in the San Francisco area.

In all, the Tour has only three open weeks this season before the Nationwide Tour Championship Oct. 29-Nov. 4 in Lakeside, Calif., near San Diego. This year's tour spans 23 states as well as the three foreign events.

Average prize money on this year's tour is $564,000 and the average first-prize check is $101,454. Total prize money on this year's Tour is a record $18.6 million.

Originally published in the Daily Advertiser, March 22, 2007
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