Play the back 9

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You may have seen this, but let me fill you in.

Kevin Na, 27 year old PGA Tour golfer from South Korea, turned pro at age 17.  He skipped his senior year of high school.  He’s no slouch of a golfer.

He was playing in the PGA Tour’s stop in San Antonio, the Valero Texas Open.  During round 1, on the 9th hole, Na had…um…one of those holes.  If you’re a golfer, you know what I mean.  It’s one of those holes where nothing goes right, and you feel like you have no clue what you’re doing.  You begin to wonder why you’re even playing golf, and if in fact you have ever played before.

After going right, into the trees, off of the tee, re-teeing, going right again, and proceeding the knock it around in the woods for a while, Na finally sunk a 6-footer for a cool 16.  He set the record for the most strokes in a PGA tour event on a par-4.

Here’s his meltdown.

But here’s the rest of the story. Na turned and played the back nine at -3.  He didn’t give up, even after an epic meltdown!  Here’s what he said in an interview:

“I was pretty proud of the way I handled the situation.  And after that, I shot -3 on the back nine.”

That takes some courage, doesn’t it?  Likely many people would’ve just walked off of the course and quit the tournament.  They would’ve packed up their bag and been done for the day.  But not Na.  He knew he still had work to do.

Maybe you’ve felt like Na.

You’ve had an epic meltdown.  You’ve failed your work, your church, your home, your family.  And it feels like it’s time to hang it up.  Call it quits.  Give up on any significant dreams or goals.  And just give in to a life of insignificance.

But thankfully, God’s in the business of restoration.  And He loves to redeem His people.  He’s done it throughout history.  And He can do it again in your life.

Na may have still missed the cut.  But he didn’t quit.

You may have lost your job, your career, and some significant relationships in your failure.  You may feel like there’s nowhere to go from here.

But don’t quit.  If you’re still alive, God has plans for you on this Earth.

Take a step of faith in the right direction.

Thankfully, God hasn’t quit on you.

Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you. – God (Hebrews 13:5)

Love is patient and kind; love never gives up. (1 Corinthians 13:4, 7)


Christ follower, husband, father, writer, small groups pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Communications director for the Small Group Network.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Rob T

    thanks Ben. finish Well! appreciate your blog.

    • Ben Reed

      Thanks for the encouragement!

  • Alex Marestaing

    As a writer, I know that last lines are the most important part of an essay. Your last line is perfect, “Take a step of faith in the right direction”. Making the right move after a perceived failure is what makes the difference between a part-time winner and a full-time champion.

  • Dustin

    excellent post, ben. great reminder to persevere because God’s on our side.