Former Leon golfer Anton Glass, now a TCC student, was at Shriners Hospital in Tampa sometime last year to get his prosthetic leg worked on when an opportunity presented itself.
The mechanic working on his leg told him he’d have a strong case to make to play in the Shriners Hospital Open in Las Vegas as part of Shriners’ Dream Team.
Every year, Shriners invites three inspiring individuals to play in the pro-am the day before the PGA Tour’s four-day tournament begins.
Glass registered. Three months ago he got the call that he was in.
“I’m excited to play on a professional course and get to show my talents,” Glass said. “As a kid, everyone wants to play with a pro, whether that’s a pro-am or otherwise. When I got called from Shriners to say I was on the Dream Team, I was overly excited.”
He doesn’t yet know what Tour pro he’ll be paired with next week over the 18 holes at TPC Summerlin, but that doesn’t matter. He’s going to enjoy the free trip, free tips and unforgettable experience.
“There’s some players like Camilo Villegas, Jimmy Walker, Hudson Swafford who is from here, Brooks Koepka who played at Florida State,” Glass said. “It’d be awesome to play with Camilo Villegas. When I was younger, I went to East Lake (in Atlanta for the TOUR Championship) and he gave me a signed golf ball. He’s always had a great attitude in the game, even though he’s not always on top.”
Golf has created patience in Glass, which has helped drop his golf handicap to 3.7 strokes above par.
For the personable kid who served as Leon’s “Leo the Lion” mascot his senior year, golf wasn’t his first sport. Baseball was.
Glass was born in Ukraine and adopted at age 4, but by 13 he was being taught golf by a neighbor.
“I learned that golf is honestly the toughest mental sport, for anything that involves athletics,” Glass said. “You can be the happiest person or the most ticked off person ever. Lately I’ve been doing it with a better attitude. I’m not hanging onto shots from the previous hole. I’m letting go. All in all, I feel like golf really developed how I react.”
Glass envisions a career in the golf industry as he grows up. From a child born without three fingers and a tibia in his left leg to a young adult that’s shown the ability to overcome those initial challenges, he’s thankful that he found a sport able to teach him just how to do so.
And now he gets to share that story on a national stage.
“If I didn’t play golf, I wouldn’t be going to Vegas,” Glass said. “If I had two legs, I may have played baseball and not ever played golf. I’m really thankful honestly about the way I was made. I’m really glad that I have one leg and seven fingers. It just makes me feel like I can accomplish so much more.”