By Larry Mize

It has always been a tremendous thrill to return home and play in front of my friends and family in Augusta, Georgia, where I grew up. It was particularly thrilling in 1987.

Coming to the 18th hole in the final round of the Masters, I needed a birdie to tie for first. Sure enough, my putt dropped, landing me in a playoff with two world-class players, Seve Ballesteros and Greg Norman. Needless to say, I wasn’t favored to win.

Although I was very nervous, I felt confident going down the first playoff hole.

Seve’s bogey knocked him out right away, but Greg and I went on to the eleventh where I pushed my second shot about 100 feet right of the hole, well off the green. Greg hit his on the right fringe about 50 feet from the hole.

“I’ll just hit a good chip shot,” I said to myself, “and put some pressure back on him.”

I hit a good chip shot. In fact, it was so good, it rolled straight into the cup. It was the biggest golf thrill I’ve ever had, and you could tell by my reaction. I almost went into orbit.

Shortly after I won the Masters, Lee Trevino said, “Larry’s a good young player. Now that he’s won this big tournament, he’s gonna take off!”

Well, unfortunately, they didn’t send that script to my house, because the next two years, 1988 and 1989, were miserable.

I was playing terrible. And my patience was thinning. After hitting a bad shot, I’d say to myself, “A Masters champion doesn’t hit shots like that. What are you doing, Larry?!”

I was completely frustrated. I was focusing on my Masters victory and thinking of myself as a “Masters champion” rather than as a person who is capable of making mistakes.

I knew I’d gotten of track. So I called up Larry Moody, who leads the Bible study on the PGA Tour.

“I’m really frustrated,” I said, getting right to the point.

“What seems to be the problem?” he asked.

“It’s ridiculous how bad I’ve been playing. I honestly think I should quit.”

“Larry,” he said to me in a calm voice, “there’s no doubt in my mind that God wants you to play golf. But, honestly, I think you’ve forgotten where your significance comes from. Your significance doesn’t come from being a professional golfer or a Masters champion. Your sense of identity doesn’t come from what you’ve accomplished or what you do. It comes from knowing you’re a child of God. What makes you significant is Jesus Christ. Because you’ve placed your trust in Him, you’re a child of the King, and you’re worth the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He put a price tag on you that makes you significant no matter what the world says–no matter how good or bad you play.”

I’ll never forget that conversation with Larry Moody. In fact, I try to remind myself of it often, because if my job or my performance is what makes me significant, then my life will be like a roller coaster. If I play well, I’ll be very happy. If I play bad, I’ll be very upset, and I won’t be happy until I play good again.

I don’t want to live like that, but thankfully I don’t have to. We have infinite worth, because God sent His only Son, Jesus Christ, to die for us.

Isn’t that truly significant?


  • Larry Mize

    4 PGA Tour Wins (one major): 1983 Danny Thomas-Memphis Classic, 1987 Masters, 1993 Northern Telecom Open, 1993 Buick Open

    1 Champions Tour Win: 2010 Montreal Championship