Garrett Willis, PGA Tour

by Doug Greengard

To put it into golf terminology, Garrett Willis swung into his rookie season on the PGA Tour by notching an ace. Willis began 2001 by winning the first event he competed in-something only two other PGA Tour players had ever done before. The Knoxville, Tennessee resident gained instant notoriety and earned plenty of respect from his fellow players by winning the Tucson Open, but Willis is sure to keep it all in proper perspective. "I remain humble," said Willis. "There are a lot of great players out here every weekend and I have to prove myself. Just because I won one golf tournament, it does a lot of things for me but it doesn't put me in a position where I think I'm the best player in the world now. So I have to go out there and work hard at my game and keep my emotions in check and follow the (Holy) Spirit."

After a highly successful collegiate career at East Tennessee State where he was named an All-American, Willis embarked on a professional career that included two years on the BUY.COM Tour. It was there, in 1999, that Willis became friendly with tour-mate Casey Martin. "I always went to church and believed in God but I didn't have a personal relationship with Christ," said Willis. "Casey kept introducing me to a Bible study that we had on that tour and after about three weeks of asking me if I wanted to attend I ended up going. I was hooked after that and it's been really great for me. My heart's really softened since I've had a relationship with Christ. Over the years I've chipped away that hard brick surface that's covered it for so many years."

Making Jesus Christ his Lord and Savior has given Willis something much greater than anything he could earn on the golf course: eternal salvation. His life is also filled with a joy and peace that comes through knowing God's unconditional love. "That unconditional love that Jesus shares with us is pretty nice," added Willis. "Because there are times on the golf course, or in relationships where we feel like we're out there all alone. Just look to Him and ask Him for forgiveness and always give Him praise. Prior to becoming a Christian I always heard how difficult it is, you have to give up this, you have to give up that. I've learned that giving those things up made my life easier."

Doug Greengard is the host/producer of the Christian Sports Minute, a radio feature airing on nearly 300 stations in the U.S. and Canada. Visit the website at

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