Sunday At Augusta
By Pastor Bill Snell
Each spring The Masters at Augusta is highly anticipated by those who love the game of golf. Spring time in Georgia brings out every color nature has to offer, and high-definition television captures it like the canvass of a skilled artist. Being the most prestigious “major” in golf, professionals from all over the world dream of competing in this venue. For the fortunate few who qualify, or are invited, that dream can end in grave disappointment and regret, or celebration and fame.
Like any great tournament, the “back nine” is set up to bring out the best drama in skilled competition. Flag positions are such that one can be rewarded with low scores if challenged effectively, yet the penalty of even a slightly inerrant shot can be severe. Balancing power with accuracy is absolutely essential in order to score well at Augusta. But even then, a fortunate bounce off a tree or even that of an unlucky spectator can serve to benefit a player as much as a “great shot”. You just never know what the last nine holes will produce. That is what makes great golf drama.
When Bubba Watson walked off the second hole playoff as the winner this year, he was overcome with emotion. He had fought hard, kept his composure, overcome bad shots and bad memories, and yet came out victorious in the end. Having never had a golf lesson, nor even bothering to analyze his swing by high-speed cameras as others do, it was fun to witness raw talent come out on top. He may not be the most consistent winner of major tournaments ten years from now, but no one can argue the fact that Bubba Watson was on top of the golf world on Easter Sunday, 2012.
After Bubba sank the winning tap-in putt, pent up emotion overcame him. It was obvious to all that the tears he shed were tears of relief and joy after competing at the highest level of his career on one of the most challenging courses in the world, facing the stiffest competition imaginable. I was moved like so many others. But, what moved me most was when a number of professional golfers who had already finished the tournament hours before, now stood inside the ropes ready to hug and congratulate their dear and respected friend. Few realize that most if not all these pro golfers were Christian brothers…men who love God, and love one another.
Apart from team competitions like the Ryder or President’s Cup, this type of expression of support by fellow competitors is seldom witnessed in golf. It’s every man for himself. Dog eat dog. This time, however, on the world stage with millions of viewers, a young man stood victorious, and he did so with humility…his faith and walk with God equally respected and appreciated by those who knew him.
I love that kind of champion. Way to go Bubba! And, way to go fellow competitors who chose to stay till the end, hours after most would normally have packed up and gone home.
Image Credit: Golf Week/Getty Images