Seeing The Future

What if you could see through time? How would you live your life differently? It’s an age-old plotline in the feel-good stories that leave us with a shot of inspiration…and resignation because we know we can’t see through time.

But through experience and the stories of others, we discover that we can see harbingers of the future. We just don’t know where we fall on the timeline to our futures. I started thinking about this because of two pieces I came across yesterday.

Steve DiMeglio, writing in USA Today, touches on these issues at the same time unwittingly affirming the rationale behind the weekly Dartboard exercise I do here each Wednesday, when he writes about “First-time winners keep finding their time on PGA Tour.”

With the depth of talent expanding and blossoming on golf courses across the world, the PGA Tour has been home to 23 first-time winners since the start of 2010. In the past three weeks, American Harrison Frazar, ranked No. 583 in the official world golf rankings at the time, earned his first win in the 355th start of his career at the FedEx St. Jude Classic; Northern Ireland’s Rory McIlroy, who won his first Tour title last year at Quail Hollow, set records in winning the U.S. Open at age 22; and Sweden’s Fredrik Jacobson earned his first Tour win in his 188th start in The Travelers Championship as the No. 110 player in the world.

Earlier this year, rookie Jhonattan Vegas earned his first Tour win at the Bob Hope Classic when he was ranked 187th; D.A. Points made his first win the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when ranked No. 167; Gary Woodland was ranked No. 153 when he won his first at the Transitions Championship; rookie Brendan Steele was ranked No. 231 when he won the Valero Texas Open; and rookie Keegan Bradley was No. 203 when he won the HP Byron Nelson Championship. Charl Schwartzel was ranked No. 29 when he closed with a record four birdies to win the Masters.

“What all that says to me is that it shows you this Tour is so deep that anyone can win on any given week,” Steve Marino said. “Anyone.”

Marino speaks with authority because he is one of the “players in waiting” for his first win. And there’s little doubt that he’ll pull it off one day. You may recall my telling you that Marino once shot a 59 on one of my home courses to win a Gateway Tour event (a course, in fact, that I am slipping away to play today).

The problem is that the waiting gets to you after a while:

“I just keep asking myself, ‘When is my time?’ ” [$10 million winner Kevin] Na said.

I wrote about Harrison Frazar here, here and here and his 13-year, 354-tournament wait. He was the player at the end of his rope until he finally won in Memphis a couple of weeks ago.

It’s such a good story that Melanie Hauser, writing on pgatour.com, re-sets the stage for us with some really fine writing:

This one is for everyone who has ever questioned themselves or their career choice.

For anyone who has ever wondered if there isn’t something else they’re supposed to be doing with their life; for anyone who has been brought to their knees when their heart says one thing and their mind tells them something else.

She spends quality time laying out the situation that Frazar found himself. Having fruitlessly waited thirteen years for his ship to come in, he was at the end of his rope. He decided to give it all up and go get a real job in sports marketing. And then, in a last hurrah, he won in Memphis.

And, looking back, Frazar was able to see what he finally did that changed things:

He doesn’t want to turn this into a religious discussion, but, he said, “I do believe God has a plan for us. I just didn’t like what the plan was for a while. I wasn’t willing to go with it. I was wondering what it was.”

“I was so caught up in the result instead of just going out and playing golf and let things take care of themselves,” he said. “People say that all the time. But being able to really accept what is scripted and what is supposed to happen is the key. That’s the key to peace. It’s the key to playing and the key to life.”

“Concentrate on what you’re doing at the moment and let the results happen. I think saying that and believing that are two different things.”

And as Hauser sums up:

You trust. You accept. You finally stop trying to direct your life. You just let it happen.

It reiterates most of what I’ve written about Frazar and his lessons already, but it’s a great read with lessons well worth remembering. The question for us humans is always the same: how many iterations does it take before we get it?

In Harrison Frazar’s case, 354 times. He’s our visionary, “canary in the coal mine,” giving us just that little inspirational peek at our own futures.

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