The Way of an Eagle

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




Laurie Rinker-Graham

My parents are Baptist – and I was raised in a Baptist church as long as I can remember – I'm sure since I was born. I don't remember exactly how old I was when I came to know Jesus. I didn't have one of those lightening bolt experiences. I was about 8 years old.
I think growing up in a church and all, I knew all about Jesus and all of the Bible stories. But I remember the sermon Dad preached the night I went forward. He related it to baseball. I remember him saying something like, "in order to hit a home run – to get to heaven – you have to accept Jesus. There is no other way to do that." Being so sports oriented, that saying hit home with me, so that's when it happened. Years later, at this point, it is still a daily battle.
My faith is defiantly important to my game. I became a Christian at a young age, but I didn't necessarily rely on my faith from a young age. That's something I've done more in the past 5 years.
I was very successful when I came out on the Tour – right from the very beginning, for at least the first 6 years. But the last 5 or so have been more of a struggle.
Still, it is almost easier, from a human perspective, when things aren't as good, because then you rely on your faith more and you trust more. Just in the last few years I've come to realize that things happen for a reason. I've also realized that I don't necessarily have to be on top to be a good witness.
From a young age, I played competitive golf and grew up thinking, Winning is everything. You have to win. You must win. And I based my whole self-worth on how well I played golf.
Finally I realized, in the grand scheme of things, it really doesn't matter.
As of January, 1995 – I have been married 4 years and until I got married, golf was it. That was my whole basis for living and self-worth. After that, I realized that there's a lot more there. Just because you win a golf tournament, you're not any better than the person who finished dead last. It's a hard thing to get a grip on, but once I saw that through God's eyes, I finally knew that wining a golf tournament is pretty insignificant. That's an especially important lesson in our society, where we love the winners and hate the losers.

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