The Way of an Eagle

by Bob Darden,
P. J. Richardson,
Robert Darden




Gary Hallberg

Somehow, Gary Hallberg always manages to do what it takes to win. His first tournament at age nine was a father/son affair at Callaway Gardens. At Wake Forest, where he won the 1979 NCAA Championship, he was the first four-time first-team All-American in history. He was the first player to earn his PGA Tour card by winning the $8,000 needed a that time (1980) to obtain his playing privileges without going through
Qualifying School.

As a pro, he won the Chunichi Crowns in Japan in 1982, the Isuza/Andy Williams Open in 1983, the Chrysler Team Championship (with Scott Hoch) in 1986, the Greater Milwakee Open in 1987, the Jerry ford Invitational in 1988, and the Buick Southern Open in 1992 at-you guessed it-Callaway Gardens.

In 1994 Hallberg won more than $200,000 for the fourth time in his career, with his best finishes a fifth-place tie at the Southern Bell Colonial and a ninth place tie at the Players Championship. He remains one of the friendliest, most approachable players on the Tour.

My mother and father came from Sweden when they were in their late teens. Actually, my dad was born here but went back to Sweden to get married, and that's when they came to the United States. Most Scandinavians are Lutherans. I used to ask my mother, "What religion are we, Mom?" She'd always say, "Lutheran." I'd say, "Okay." I just needed to know.

I used to go to my grandma's house for a month every summer. She was a Seventh-Day Adventist, an she read the Bible every day. In fact, every minute she wasn't cooking or ironing or knitting, she was reading the Bible. She was an incredible lady. And she was so wise; she had incredible wisdom. She always answered my questions just perfectly. I'd say she was very instrumental in my life, especially with my kid curiosity. So the Lord was working that way.

I don't think my folks ever went to church. I remember my mother saying "We're not good enough to go to heaven. Very few people are going to go." I'd think, You're not good enough? And you do everything just right! So what chance do I have?!

Then in high school, my best friends' brother was having a Bible study, so I went to that one time. I was very interesting; I really enjoyed it. I was never one for history; it was my least favorite subject in school I didn't care about those kings and guys who were all gone. I was more interested in what was going on right now. It was very interesting to me, especially about Christ and the eternity aspect of it. At that age you're starting to think, Gee whiz, where am I going? What am I going to do? What's this all about? You mean, someday I won't be here anymore? That's a pretty scary thought-you get almost worried about it because you have no real assurance of eternal life.

My best buddy and I shared that common denominator of concern about the eternal. We went to the Bible studies together, but he eventually moved away

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