Devotional: September 3rd
Every now and then things can get testy in the world of professional sports. NASCAR has its moments when people get, as they say, tapped by another car and lose a race as a result. Retribution can follow. In hockey the retribution is a little more immediate. The old saw of, "I went to a fight last night and a hockey game broke out," bears a certain measure of respect. Golf is a little more subtle. The things that happen in golf take a little more time to settle than in many other sports.
Take the instance of Phil Mickleson and Tiger Woods a couple of years ago. Mickleson made a rather brash statement to the press. "He hates that I can fly it past him now. He has a faster swing speed than I do, but he has inferior equipment. Tiger is the only player who is good enough to overcome the equipment he's stuck with." Tiger's response was a rather odd one. While he defended his Nike equipment he was using (Nike pays him millions of bucks a year to play and wear their golf gear) he inexplicably put his Nike driver away and brought out a Titleist driver he had used previously.
Then came the "slump." In 2003 Tiger was very, well, un-Tigerish. His wins dipped. The odd thing was, his performances in the major championships, the Masters, the U. S. Open, the British Open and the PGA Championship, were nowhere close to those of past years. Mickleson seized the moment to foment to the press, "What kills me is that all you guys who found it easy to lay into me, none of you have admitted the accuracy of that statement." As the slump continued into 2004 and Tiger lost his number one world ranking to Vijay Singh, Mickleson made a playing statement by winning the Masters and coming close in the U. S. Open, still with no Tiger on the radar.
After starting the year like this was going to perhaps be his best year, Mickleson has faded into a shadowy area of the PGA radar where he barely raises a blip while Tiger has gone first-second-first in the three majors this year. His comment concerning a slump had been that he was tinkering with his swing. The media dogs got on him about it as to why he needed to tinker. Following the British Open Tiger made a simple short statement as to why he did so. "One, two and one, that's why." Tiger's lull had nothing to do with equipment and everything to do with simply getting better at his craft.
Tiger's retribution was to get better and silence his critics. What's ours? Seriously, when Satan lashes out at us what do we do? Peter gives us a very simple solution. "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time; casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world." 1 Peter 5:6-9 A simple solution. Through God, we get better at who we are.
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