We have reached the weekend at the U.S. Open – and the Olympic Course in the San Fran area is proving to be very challenging for the best golfers in the world. 158 golfers have played 2 rounds and exactly 3 of them sit with scores under par – and all three are at -1. The cut sits at +8 and right there at the cut line is Kevin Streelman – our subject for the day.
Streelman has been on the PGA tour in 2007. Since then, he has finished 3rd on three separate occasions. Although he did with the 2009 Kodak Challenge(a cool sounding idea that didn’t really catch
on, and now is no more). He currently sits at 149 in the world golf rankings. The odds are very strongly against the 2012 U.S. Open being his first PGA tournament win, but he will play through the weekend and see if he can improve from his position (currently T59th).
But there is more to Streelman’s game than concern about results. The Chicago-land native and Duke University alumni uses golf as a platform to share his faith with others, and has taken a special interest in youth who are passionate about the game of golf. As you can read in this discussion Streelman had with Chad Bonham at Inspiring Athletes, Streelman noticed that the headlines from the pro golf circuit in 2010 was filled with a lot of negativity. He wanted to create something positive and so he came up with the idea of “GAMEDAY” which Fellowship of Christian Athletes got behind. Gameday provides an opportunity for junior golfers to meet and interact with pros and allow those pros an opportunity to share their faith.
Streelman also has a chance in this interview to talk about integrity on the golf course. Something came to me as I was reading this article. Golf is the only sport that I could immediately think of where the onus is on the player to police him/herself. You never see a basketball player calling him/herself for traveling, or for a foul. A hockey player never stops play to go to the penalty box for a hook or a high stick. Baseball players never turn to an ump on a close pitch or a bang-bang play and say “Nah – he got me!” It just doesn’t happen. In fact, there are
many opportunities to cover up your guilt and hope that you “get away with it”. Golf doesn’t work that way. In many cases, infractions are to be noticed and reported by the golfer him/herself. We are prone to the same thing in our life. We are good at justifying and trying to “get away” with our missteps and errors. I can’t imagine how this could work in any other sport, but in golf, that’s the way it is. I pray that we would all be so honest with ourselves and with others. When we make a mistake, or mess up – that we would own up to it, and learn from it. Such an important lesson. Also, another great golf term that fits as an analogy for our Christian walk is the Mulligan. You can check out the Mulligan Society blog by FCA here. A Mulligan is a redo, as if the first shot, that went so drastically awry didn’t happen. God offers us many mulligans. A redo on our life – we can’t mess up so much that all hope is lost. There may be consequences for our mess up, but God always offers us forgiveness.
Streelman is looking for that first PGA tournament win, and I hope it comes for him soon. He has shown a great perspective on the earnings that he wins, and on the trophies and standings. For his PGA career, these things hold some importance but for the grand scheme of life, they matter little. I appreciate the perspective and challenge from Streelman. I trust and pray that God will afford him more opportunities to share what a relationship with Jesus is all about and wish him success, in whatever form that takes.