Amber’s Question: Has your faith helped your game? How?
Kermit’s Answer: I think being a Christian has helped me to think positive, be confident, be determined, control my temper, and generally enjoy life. Indirectly, these things have surely had a positive influence on my performance as a professional golfer. And being a Christian has helped me be a diligent worker at whatever I do. I believe God expects me to work hard to achieve noble goals with whatever talents he has given me. Wise King Solomon, one of my heroes, wrote in the Bible, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9.10 NIV).
Although I believe strongly in a personal God who involves himself in my life, I think devoutly religious people sometimes over-spiritualize life and thereby lose some much-needed common sense. Solomon cautioned, “Do not be overrighteous, neither be overwise” (Ecclesiastes 7.16 NIV). What did he mean? I think this happens to pro athletes when they believe God is sovereign in controlling the outcome of a sporting event. A common question asked by Christian pros on the PGA Tour during my career was: “Does God hit the ball or do I hit it?” Again, Solomon wrote, “the race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong,… but time and chance happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9.11 NIV). I think this indicates that God generally is not involved in the outcome of sporting events.
So, I think God has a hands-off approach to some things in our lives, and sports are one of them. God doesn’t care much about who wins in sports, though he has the power to control their outcome. God is concerned about how people live their lives. The old adage is true: “It’s not whether we win or lose, but how we play the game.”