I grew up in a loving, Christian home and because of my love of the game of golf, it wasn’t long before golf became my god. Like most kids who grow up in a Christian home, I began to doubt my faith and experience other things when I got out on my own in college. I knew that God should be more of a factor in my life, but I was busy trying to be a great college golfer and pursuing other things. I soon realized that I could either try to do life on my own strength and abilities or I could live life with God’s help and grace. I had seen what going at it alone had done for me, a life full of selfishness, pride, and a feeling of never being satisfied. I was always chasing the next thing that was supposed to make me happy.
I met my future wife, Heather, and as our relationship grew, we decided to start pursuing our faith together. Part of God’s perfect plan for my life was placing an amazing man, Pastor Ron Mehl, in my life, who started to mentor and disciple me. During the final years of his life as he was losing his battle with leukemia, he took the time to teach me many important truths that have shaped the man I am today. Pastor Ron showed me the love of Christ by the way he just deeply cared for and listened to me. He didn’t see the flaws in me, he saw the man that I could be, a follower of Jesus that could live a fruitful life that mattered. That’s how God sees us through the person of Christ, he sees us for all of our potential.
My golf career took off and I made the PGA TOUR after playing the mini-tours and Nationwide for only 2-1/2 years. As a rookie on the PGA TOUR, I instantly felt accepted by the PGA TOUR bible study, led by Larry Moody, and the other believers on tour. However, things quickly started to unravel for me as the weaknesses in my game became exposed amidst the pressure and competition on the tour. I missed 5 cuts in a row and finally the last tournament before my wedding to Heather, I focused on a book that Pastor Ron wrote called A Prayer that Moves Heaven, about praising God in the tough times, when your circumstances aren’t what you wished them to be and remaining thankful as you stand on God’s promises alone. I finished 2nd that last weekend before our wedding and I was very grateful that God chose to bless and encourage me in such a special way, but it also made me realize that God has called me to the PGA TOUR, to teach me and train me and help me to use my gifts to glorify him. God is in it each day, over each shot, He is the one who makes up the difference in my game to allow me to succeed.
I am currently in my 14th year on tour. God has taught me so much, brought me through all the ups and downs. There have been seasons of great success on the course and great struggle, including debilitating back pain where I thought my career was over. Through it all, God always has something to teach me. Looking back, his plan has been perfect. God has blessed me with an incredibly supportive wife and amazing children. We are honored and grateful to have a life filled with so much purpose as we desire to use this platform to be an encouragement to others. So many great friends and leaders in the faith have poured into me, encouraging me along the way. I have learned to live in the present, embrace the day and what lies ahead, and to rely on Jesus and his strength because that is when I am my best. I focus on scripture when I play and the devotional that we created has given me such life on the course. James 4:10 says, “when you bow down and admit your dependence on me, I will lift you up and give you honor.” That has really rung true in my life — as my dependence grows on Christ, my strength increases.
Here’s a story that CNN did on the PGA TOUR Bible study and the fellowship among the golfers on TOUR: http://www.cnn.com/2013/06/03/sport/golf/golf-us-open-webb-simpson-god/