Former NFL quarterback Steve Bono, who played for the San Francisco 49ers’ 1989 Super Bowl-winning team, knows about teamwork. He learned and lived it as a college standout at UCLA and during 15 professional seasons with seven different organizations after being drafted in 1985.
Bono first learned how teamwork can transcend religion, race and other characteristics from the late Homer Smith, his offensive coordinator at UCLA. Smith brought to his young Bruins team a tale about how a football team could have a Jewish quarterback take a snap from a Catholic center and then throw to a Protestant receiver. At the time, the coach was teaching a life lesson.
“That was such a great story he told us, but it didn’t sink in like it does now,” said Bono, who spoke at 2015 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Media Day March 30 at The Olympic Club. “It was one common goal. The whole program had one goal and every decision that you made was based on how is this going to give this team a better chance to win.”
Bono, who has worked in business development and financial services since his playing days, also noted that this approach emphasized trust and respect, two qualities that helped the 49ers become Super Bowl XXIV champions.
“You didn’t have to agree with the person next to you or like the person next to you,” said Bono, a member at the Stanford University Golf Course in nearby Palo Alto, Calif. “But you had to respect their opinion and respect the way they went about their business.”
Drew Olson, 32, of Piedmont, Calif., and David Reneker, 46, of Santa Monica, Calif., have found a common bond in their passion for golf and as UCLA graduates, and have already worked as a unit in sectional qualifying to advance to this inaugural championship.
Olson, who is third on UCLA’s career passing yards list, and Reneker, a former walk-on for the Bruins’ golf team, shot 6-under 65 in the qualifier at Del Paso Country Club, in Sacramento, Calif., and then survived a four-hole playoff that finished after sunset. Olson made an 18-foot birdie putt on the third extra hole before Reneker followed with a birdie to secure the final qualifying position.
Reneker and Olson’s good teamwork placed them among a group of 128 teams (or sides) for the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship on May 2-6 at The Olympic Club.
“[I] fell in love with the spirit of amateur golf and the competitiveness,” said Olson about his post-football life following a short stint as an undrafted free agent quarterback. “I come from a world of team sports and football, and so to be able to compete in this event and have a partner and a good friend like Dave is something that I am going to cherish.”