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September 01, 2020 10:18am
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Advice for golf champ Scottie Scheffler from this father of five as he joins the dad club

Golf champ Scottie Scheffler pledged to withdraw from competition if his pregnant wife Meredith when into labor before the final round of the Masters.

By most accounts, I’m a decent guy. I mostly made my kids’ music recitals (recorders don’t count), take out the trash without being asked, and never intentionally taped over my wedding video. For myself and other imperfect men like me, I have one request of first-time father Scottie Scheffler: Slow your roll.

I speak not of your putting stroke, which is as smooth as Sinatra’s voice after a second Rusty Nail, but of your performance generally as a professional, a husband, a man of faith and – as will surely be the case – a new father. You’re making the rest of us look bad. Really bad. 

Lawyering is a grind, but nothing like your line of work. On the insanely competitive PGA Tour, you’re the Ricky Bobby – "if you’re not first, you’re last" – of pros. With a world No.1 ranking and two coveted Masters Trophies festooning your mantel, you’re a stone-cold winning machine.


Earlier this year, you won four of five successive tournaments, a feat last accomplished by Tiger Woods in 2007-2008. Heading into the PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club this week, you have a legitimate chance to complete professional golf’s Grand Slam and win all four majors in one year. This standard of excellence has not been my experience.  

I’ve been feted in no "40-under-40" or, more recently, "50-under-50" glossy lawyer lists, although due to good health and poor financial planning, I just might be around to make an "80-under-80" compilation. When it comes to professional proficiency, you’re alone in the clubhouse with a monster lead over the field.

It’s not just that you win, but how you win. During your second Masters campaign, you pledged to withdraw from competition if your wife, Meredith, then pregnant with your first child, went into labor before the final round. That’s loving people more than things, a commendable trait. It also makes me feel like Jan to your Marcia Brady.


I mean, if the golf-shoe were on the other foot, I like to think I’d have expressed that noble sentiment to my wife before our eldest child was born, rather than, say, propose naming a daughter Augusta or son Augustine in remembrance of the win. The fact that I have a ready alternative in mind suggests otherwise.

While your marital scorecard is bogey-free, your eternal priorities are even more admirable. You said after winning your second Masters that you play golf to glorify God and all he’s done in your life. Such press conferences might be even more beautiful than your game. I can’t even riff on this one. Like watching Scottish sprinter Eric Liddell in "Chariots of Fire" run, it was just too glorious.

After all, on golf’s greatest stage and mere moments after victory at Augusta, your thoughts turned not to your own abundant gifts, but to their infinitely more abundant giver. That’s a humility I strive for, but I doubt whether my best score on that trickiest of life’s courses comes close to your worst one. Here we share a caddy; I think you just listen to Him more.

The more I think about it, whatever else you do in this life, Mr. Scheffler, don’t slow your roll. This world needs good men who constantly lift our gaze to the transcendent, even if they outshine the rest of us by doing so. In the solitary pursuit of virtue, continue to lead the field. It makes the rest of us better men. 

In gratitude for your fine example, I offer a new father some free advice from an older one: remove your Masters Green Jacket before burping your newborn son Bennett.


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