A Glimpse Inside The Soul Of Pro Golf
Continued (page 5 of 5)
"I can see how others might get irritated," Janzen says. "A guy leads a quiet, good life and then sees another guy get up and preach whenever the camera's on him."
"I stay pretty quiet about it," says 20-year pro John Senden, who supports a Catholic church in Dallas and another in his native Australia. "I don't distract myself with scriptures in my yardage book or anything like that. When I'm walking down the fairway and don't want to think about golf, I might just look at the tops of the trees."
"The biggest misperception out there is that Christians have it figured out," Byrd says. "That we all have our lives together and want to show people the way. I'm not perfect. I was lost, and my life was a mess. Some days I feel like I have the silliest job in the world. That's when I just try to remember to stay lighthearted like Crane, keep things in perspective."
Lighthearted is certainly a word that could be used to describe the "Golf Boys" introductory music video, "Oh Oh Oh," which secured charitable donations with almost 5.5 million views on YouTube. Any golfer who wasn't lost in a hazard saw Crane, Watson, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler perform original content. Call it what you will, but you can't say it wasn't good, clean fun.
IMPACT ON ENDORSEMENTS
If a golfer is especially showing of his religion, does that affect earning potential in endorsements? A crass consideration, but one top golf agent who spoke on the condition of anonymity said, "The contracts they get are not of the magnitude they would get if they kept their religion to themselves. Ninety percent of America is mainstream. People find it off-putting, and they don't want to be proselytized to."
Louis Martin, of International Sports Management, disagrees. "It's a nonissue. Maybe every once in a while a company will say, 'No, we don't want that guy; he's too wholesome.' I say fine, then send them to somebody else."
David Carter of the Sports Business Group says you can't make a definitive statement. "Consumers want authentic athletes to whom they can relate and live vicariously through. It can reinforce a player's brand among his core constituency, but there's also definitely a fine line between presenting personal information that's going to alienate certain fans." As Michael Jordan famously said when refusing to formally support a Senate candidate, "Republicans buy sneakers, too."
"It's funny," Webb Simpson says. "I had one idea of what it would mean to be a Christian on tour before I got out here. I thought it was going to be all about having this big influence. Which is still part of it, but the older I get I realize God cares more about the little things than what you say after a tournament. It's about how you treat the volunteers, the fans. How you love your wife and kids on the road."
Does golf have its Tim Tebow coming soon? Picture next season, late on a Sunday, a fiery, wholesome-faced young rookie birdies the 17th hole to take a one-shot lead. Before he pulls the headcover at 18, he drops down on one knee.
TWEETS THEY LIVE BY
A sampling of tour pros on Twitter
683,627 followers @bubbawatson
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.
Understand & love my parents more now. Nothing matters but my wife & my baby boy! Golf is fun but God - Wife - Baby are my life.
To God Be the Glory!!! #Masters
Just want to say THANKS to all my twitter/facebook followers y'all help me grow in my faith, negative & positive comments help me learn.
399,617 followers @RickieFowlerPGA
Love my haters but love my true fans even more...I'm a lover not a hater...life is way too short to worry about bringing others down!
70,945 followers @webbsimpson1
26,000 will die today due to lack of food or water, I need not complain of anything. I am blessed man beyond measure
Thanks to everyone for the support and encouragement. Humbled to win the US Open!! Thankful to God for His grace in my life. #nosleep
If you don't want to read my tweets about certain things, it's probably a good idea to not follow me instead of getting upset about it #:)
57,709 followers @AaronBadds
Rough day on the course today but looking fwd 2 tonight - Highlands Church at 7pm!
3,065 followers @TomLehman2011
Amazing...I tweeted that the leaderboard is full of people who care that today is Easter...and have gotten some very negative responses.