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Golf Writers from the Heart

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Sergio Garcia reaffirmed the value of patience

Guest Contributor Chris Saksa is a young business professional in the Chicago area employed as a Field Recruiting Coordinator for CNO Financial Group in their Bankers Life division. A 2016 graduate of Illinois State University, where he earned a B.S. Degree in Communication Studies: Organizational and Leadership Communication, he is devoted to, among other things, golf, the White Sox, and Blackhawks. During his time at Illinois State, he was an Intramural Supervisor/Official, and in May 2015 he was recognized with the Illinois State University Fitness Center Outstanding Guest Service Award. He also umpired Little League baseball for the Westmont (Ill.) Park District. All of that officiating has helped him call things as he sees them.

Just a couple of weeks ago, we saw Sergio Garcia win his first-ever major, at the Masters in Augusta. Before April 9th, Sergio was 0 for 73 in major championships. 0 for 73!

Now, I am too young to remember the early battle Sergio had with Tiger Woods at Medinah Country Club in 1999, where Tiger beat him by a shot, but I have seen highlights and I have watched a lot of golf over the course of my 23 years. I remember watching Sergio have one hand on the claret jug at Carnoustie only to have the golf gods rip it out of his hands at the 2007 Open Championship, and then again at the 2008 PGA Championship at Oakland Hills, where, as he had at Carnoustie, Sergio ran into a man named Padraig Harrington. (In my opinion, Harrington is one of the most underrated golfers out there, but that’s a different story.)

Watching Garcia slip on the green jacket, emblematic of the Masters, told me one thing: It affirmed the belief that good things come to those who are patient. We have all experienced tough times, and sometimes we think too much like Sergio thought. He would say openly: “I cannot catch a break.” Many of us have likely said the same thing, and added, “I will never win or achieve my dream.”

Golf, much like life, can be cruel and unfair sometimes. It can make us feel like we are on top of the world one second and then make us feel all alone in complete darkness the next. But the lesson that Sergio Garcia taught on that Sunday at Augusta is: patience. Ask anyone who has fallen on tough times or any golfer who has had a few bad holes and what do they say? “Take one day at a time,” or “Be patient and take one shot at a time.”

Whether it’s one of the many times we experience failure, or when we fall short of achieving our goal and seriously think about giving up, we have huge doubts that the day of triumph will ever come. I am sure Sergio went home from his close finishes in the majors and thought, “What is the point of me even going to a major, it’s not like I am going to win anyway.” He openly complained about the majors being against him, which made him seem petulant. But even after all that, Garcia continued to show up, he never gave up on his dream of being a major champion and his patience was rewarded with a green jacket and the title of Masters champion.

The lesson is quite clear: The next time you struggle in a situation or think you can’t catch a break, recall how someone as talented as Sergio Garcia failed 73 times to achieve his goal of winning a major. But give him credit, he persevered and as of April 9 he’s classified as a major champion and no one can take that away from him. He overcame negative thoughts that he wasn’t good enough and let positive beliefs put all doubt aside. What a great lesson we all can use in our own lives.

Cliff Schrock