For 41 years, Roger Maltbie thought he’d lost the $40,000 check he received for winning the 1975 Pleasant Valley Classic.
It made for a great story, a fun-loving Tour pro having a huge night after winning for the second consecutive week only to wake up the next morning in Massachusetts wondering where he’d left his prize money.
“Turns out I really didn’t lose it. I just misplaced it for 41 years,” Maltbie said after the original check was returned to him Saturday by Paul Parajeckas, the head pro at Pleasant Valley Country Club.
To fully appreciate the story, it’s necessary to go back to where it started – a bar called T.O. Flynn’s not far from Pleasant Valley Country Club.
That’s where Maltbie went to celebrate two Tour wins in a row – he’d won the Quad Cities Open the week before. He’d made the cut on the number at Pleasant Valley then shot 66-67 on a windy weekend to win.
“The next thing I know, I’m coming to the next day and it took a little while before I realized I’d won the day before,” Maltbie said. “I was going to get a newspaper and read about how cool I was.
“I reached in my pocket and thought, ‘Uh-oh,’ something bad had happened.”
Maltbie called the bar to see if anyone had found the check. No one had. So with the help of his caddie, he called tournament officials who agreed to cancel the original check and cut him a new one.
He asked that the second check be for $39,000 because he needed $1,000 in cash to leave town because he didn’t have a credit card and had burned through the $600 he had with him Sunday night.
When the bar called back to tell Maltbie the check had been found, Maltbie said they could keep it.
He never saw it again – until Saturday at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
The check had stayed at T.O. Flynn’s for a few years then hung on a wall in the Pleasant Valley clubhouse for several years. Eventually, Parajeckas put it in a desk drawer and left it there.
Maltbie won five times, including the first Memorial Tournament, but he may be as famous for losing the check at Pleasant Valley.
“In many ways, that little slip of paper has defined my adult life, my professional life,” Maltbie said. “To get it back is special to me.”
Holding the check, Maltbie was almost spellbound to have it again.
“It’s weathered a whole lot better than I have,” Maltbie said.