Tuohy Provides Message of Opportunity and Hope September 9, 2015 | Cape Girardeau, Mo. By Vanessa Zink, USGA

Leigh Anne Tuohy became a household name when she was portrayed by Sandra Bullock in "The Blind Side." (USGA/Keith Hente)

Women's State Team Home

On a steamy Missouri night, nearly all 150 USGA Women’s State Team Championship competitors, along with family and friends, assembled in Southeastern Missouri State University’s Show Me Center for the traditional pre-championship Players’ Dinner.

Their guest speaker on Tuesday evening, however, was anything but traditional.

Thanks to Cord Dombroski, Dalhousie Golf Club owner and managing member, those in attendance were treated to a guest who tugged on the heartstrings of moviegoers worldwide. The night’s speaker was portrayed by Academy Award-winning actress Sandra Bullock in the blockbuster hit “The Blind Side.”

Leigh Anne Tuohy, most commonly known as the legal guardian of Carolina Panthers offensive tackle Michael Oher, energized the room with her captivating personality and delivered an important message for life on and off the golf course: take risks.

“We all take risks in life,” said Tuohy. “But, it’s what you choose to take a risk on that matters.”

She continued. “Innately, this is a country of givers. This country was founded by a group of people who took a risk. And that needs to continue happening. You can make a difference.”

Kelly Su, 15, represented Arizona during Tuesday evening's state flag procession at the Players' Dinner. (USGA/Keith Hente)

Tuohy famously took a risk on Oher, a 6-foot, 4-inch African-American from the Tuohy’s hometown of Memphis, Tenn., who endured periods of homelessness due to a difficult upbringing. Despite the not-so-hushed whispers and all-too-often raised eyebrows from passersby, the Tuohy’s raised Oher as their own, not only helping him find football, but ultimately changing his life.

“All we did was offer him hope, and love, and opportunity,” said Tuohy. “I think everyone in this room is capable of offering hope, and love, and opportunity.”

Dombroski  connected with the Tuohy family through Hugh Freeze, a Dalhousie member and Oher’s high school football coach at Briarcrest Christian School in Memphis. Freeze is now the head football coach at the University of Mississippi, Dombroski’s alma mater.

By taking on the hosting responsibilities of the 11th Women’s State Team Championship, Dombroski and his staff, as well as the members of Dalhousie, embody Tuohy’s message.

“We’ve got a great staff. It’s not contrived hospitality, it’s real. We all work hard, and it’s a team effort from every level,” Dombroski said. “We are truly proud to share our club with these top amateur golfers from all over the country and are looking forward to a great championship.”

One example of the hospitality players have received from Dalhousie is the introduction of “host families” for each team. Essentially, club members who chose to participate selected a team to welcome to Cape Girardeau and support throughout the championship. The player’s first interaction with their host family was a surprise gift upon arrival, with each host family selecting its gift.

Dalhousie, which opened in 2002, has already hosted nearly two dozen local amateur championships. The Women’s State Team is the first USGA championship contested at Dalhousie.

Vanessa Zink is an assistant manager of championship communications for the USGA. Email her at

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