Going into yesterday’s final round of the 91st PGA Championship, you had to have been an ultra-serious fan of the game or a professional golfer, yourself, to know Y.E. Yang. What a difference 18-holes of golf makes!
Many of us who turned into watch the final round of major competition for 2009 assumed, as had been the case 14 times previous, that Tiger Woods would dominate the day. We expected that Woods would lap the field and walk away with his 15th major championship and a 5th PGA Championship, tying Walter Hagen and Jack Nichlaus for most all time. He had never lost when going into a final round with the lead, so we can all be excused for expecting the same expectation yet again.
Then Sunday happened. Yang took the challenge to Woods, placing Woods on the defensive throughout most of the round, and placing the pressure on him to make the difficult putts and great shots to maintain pace with the unknown golfer.
Throughout the day, Yang was not intimidated. He played the best round of the day and nailed two career-defining shots on the back nine to defeat Woods away and, more importantly, become the first Asian-born player to win a major championship. We celebrated because of the impressive upset that we had witnessed. As sports fans, we do love a good underdog story, a Cinderella story perhaps.
But do we pull for the underdog outside of sports? So often, we look at the underdog in sports and look for that grand story. We want to be fascinated with stories like Appalachian State beating Michigan, George Mason making the Final Four, Boise State against Oklahoma, or the Giants winning the Super Bowl. These stories gives us hope and encouragement, but yet we leave these underdog stories only in the world of sports.
In other ventures, we seem to place our expectations in a box. We limit people with perhaps difficult backgrounds or life circumstances to never raising above their current situation. We believe that God only calls those who talk well, who have a clear vision for the future, or look the part of a God-chosen person. Seemingly, when we do this we put God in a box as well.
Too often, it is those who may not look the part of a “good and humble” Christian servant that is the most guilty of placing God in a box. We question if God is truly able to use us because we have a difficult background or use the world’s judgements to be simply verdicts from God. All the while we ignore the voice of God calling in the woods.
What if we did something radical and different? Instead of doubting ourselves, what if we allowed God to touch us and to move us from a position of doubt to a position of trust. When we do, I believe anything is possible and we will then see the fullness of our potential as Christians and in our relationship with God.
Seemingly, when this happens, we turn out the world that says we’re not good enough to meet the challenge of a 14-time winner and then believe in ourselves and have faith and trust in God that we are good enough to do the unexpected simply because it’s who we are – the unexpected.