Raising The Game

There are only a couple of weeks remaining before the US Open takes the spotlight in the world of golf. One of just four major tournaments in the year, it is almost always an exciting one to watch. And as usual, the golf world is already buzzing about Tiger Woods. It seems he has been in a slump of late and the debate rages about whether or not this will be the weekend he breaks out of it.

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I am proud to say that my affection for professional golf predates Tiger. When he blew onto the scene he brought with him millions of fans, many of whom had absolutely no knowledge of the game. It did not take long before almost everyone knew at least the basic golf terminology and the whole world was talking about Tiger. For several years he was absolutely dominant, winning title after title. His effect on the game is immeasurable.

Perhaps Tiger’s greatest effect on the game is that he has impacted each and every other player on the tour. When he came along and became so dominant, every other golfer on the tour had to raise his game just to keep up. Remember what Phil Mickelson was like before the Tiger years? He was overweight and pretty dumpy-looking! Fast forward a few years and you can see an amazing difference in the guy. Or David Duval – he went from just having an average build to being sculpted and muscular. Why? Because to keep up with Tiger he needed to improve his game! He needed to be able to hit harder and driver further just to stand a chance. We can safely say about Tiger that he has impacted every other player around him, for if they haven’t made a dedicated effort to get better, they have been left behind in his dust.

I think the greatest compliment you can give a guy like Tiger is just that – that he raises the game of those around him.

I guess Tiger is slumping a little bit lately, but you know what? He is playing a whole different field of golfers than he did three or four years ago. They have all raised their game and are now giving him a better challenge than they did in the past.

There is a spiritual parallel here, isn’t there? God doesn’t call us to be dumpy, overweight Christians who bring only 80% to Him. We are called to bring him our best – to bring our “A” game every day. I am fortunate to have known several people in my life who raise the “games” of everyone else around them. They are so dedicated to God and so in-touch with Him that others just can’t help but be impacted. The more others see those people and experience their excitement and their spiritual insight, the more they want to grab ahold of it themselves. Other people just can’t help but see the Spirit working in these people, for He shines right through them.

That is exactly how I want to be – completely sold out for God. I want my light to shine so brightly that I get lost in the glare and people see only God in and through me. I hope and pray that some day I can be the type of person that helps other people raise their game for Him. Soli deo gloria!