The other day a guy named Kyle Stanley won the desert classic here in Phoenix, better known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open. That’s right. Our tourny is sponsored by the local trash collectors (we prefer “sanitary engineers.”)
Anyway, Stanley is not exactly a household name in golf. He is a relative unknown. But this unknown overcome a seven stroke deficit to eventually win his first PGA tournament.
This 24 year old dude now leads the Fed Ex points standings and based on his talent will soon become a household name. What made his victory so impressive was what happened the week before.
He was leading a different tournament. In fact, he had the lead through 71 holes. It was the 72nd hole, his last hole where things came undone.
He had a virtually insurmountable three stroke lead heading into the final hole at Torrey Pine in San Diego. In fact, he had hit two solid shots on the par 5 hole putting himself in prime position to do no worse than a par.
He was in perfect position in the fairway and only had to get his third shot on the green to insure him a victory. The only thing that lay between him and his goal was a small pond. It really should not have even been a factor on his short 90 yard shot.
His shot looked like it was going to be perfect. It hit above the hole on the green. However, he had some spin on the ball and it spun backwards… past the hole… off the green… and back into the water.
That cost him a stroke penalty and he had to hit the shot again. This time he landed it well up on the green but promptly three putted netting an 8 on the score card. That is a triple bogey and dropped him back into a tie for the lead.
He went to a playoff and lost to Brandt Snedeker. Ouch! I mean he was one foot from hitting a sensational shot and winning the tournament.
Now there are many good lessons to learn from this. Obviously the most encouraging lesson is that Stanley bounced back from defeat and became a victor. He didn’t allow one failure to make him a failure. He got off the mat!
But, the other lesson that we learn from Stanley is how close we can come to the goal only to miss it. After all, he was one foot from the Promised Land, from the finish line only to be turned back. No one remembers who came in second.
So many times in life, we get to the point where we are ready to achieve something great and yet we stop one foot from pay dirt.
It is not enough to go for God’s dream and almost get there. God has a plan for our lives and we won’t discover if we stop short of the goal. Stay with it! Don’t ever give up! And, the prize will be ours!