Then the day came, as it does eventually for all players, no matter how great, when I just couldn’t keep up the pace required to stay on the Tour. In 1984, I lost my card and was faced with the prospect of figuring out what to do with the rest of my life. I wasn’t in the limelight anymore, which was a tough adjustment, and I still had a family to provide for.
So once again, I threw myself into my old pattern. I charged ahead, developing seminars, producing golf instruction videos and teaching aids, speaking at golf and fundraising events, and getting involved with lots of different ministries. I was still committed to reaching people for Christ through golf, but it wasn’t too many years until I had begun to sink again into the same feelings of fatigue, frustration, and the sense of missing something in my life that was really important. At a very basic level, I was still trying to win God’s approval by “doing everything right.”
Because of my never-ending internal need to succeed, after leaving the Tour I participated in over 500 golf outings, produced over twenty golf instructional videos, wrote six books, participated in numerous television shows, created a line of junior golf clubs for Titleist, and, along with a friend, created the equipment and game for the national school golf programs of the U.S., Japan, and Scotland—and those are just a few of the major activities.
You see, I was totally caught up by the need to maintain a torrid pace of performance and achievement. Through it all, I always felt that these involvements were just platforms to become the best that I could be, and I really wanted to use those platforms to reach people for Christ—that’s always been the main theme of my life.
Yet something was always missing. Within my frantic pace of life and faith-based activities, there was still a restless, unsatisfied quest for the truth.
And then, in the winter of 2004, while I was in the midst of working on a pamphlet designed to help golfers share their faith with others, God gave me one of the greatest gifts of my lifetime. He led me, through the words of a turn-of-the-twentieth-century English Methodist minister, to make the experiment that would completely transform everything about my life.
He led me to begin the chair experiment.
It is a gift I will never fully be able to thank him for. It has brought me into the fullness of life and companionship with Jesus that he had always promised but I’d never before been able to find. Now, once God broke in and led me to try the chair experiment, I finally found it.