Pat Bates, PGA Tour

by Doug Greengard

Pat Bates

During his days on the Nike and Buy.com mini-tours from 1994 to 2001, Pat Bates proved himself to be among the best by notching five victories. Now in his third season on the PGA Tour, Bates, whose best career finish is a tie for sixth place at the 2002 Buick Open, still shoots for the distinction of being a winner on the big tour. As Bates continues to set his sights on getting as far under par as possible, his focus is more on his status as a victorious overcomer through his relationship with Jesus Christ. “I’m just trying to go out there with a spirit of power (1 Timothy 1:7-8),” said Bates. “God did not create us to be timid.  I have to go out there and be a little more courageous. I’m just trying to attack the course and enjoy being out here.”

Bates has not always played golf—and lived his life—for Jesus Christ.  During his college days at the University of Florida, he admits to a sometimes wild and reckless lifestyle that always left him feeling empty and alone.  In 1992, one year after leaving college, a friend shared with the six-three, 195-pound golfer what it means to have a personal relationship with Christ. “I’m just thankful because God changed my heart,” added Bates. “I’m a lot better husband and father than I ever would have been. I might even be a better golfer.”

In his walk with Christ, Bates has had to face quite a few challenges. His father passed away in1993, and there was a career threatening neck surgery to face. But through it all, he has found great comfort in God’s promises found in the Bible. “It’s been a great road,” said Bates. “Your highs are higher and your lows aren’t nearly as low.  You don’t stay depressed or stay low very long because you know God has a good purpose. God’s word is so great, so healthy and so full of truth that if you come into a moment of trial you just read scripture and understand that it isn’t going to last forever.  You can use scripture to fight off the down times.”

Bates aspires to become a tour winner but, in the meantime, understands that he has a greater purpose as a follower of Christ. “I think the most important thing is how we represent Christ,” he added. “If we finish with a double bogey on the last hole and there are some kids who want our autograph, you sign that and in God’s eyes you’re a winner.”       

 Doug Greengard is the Chaplain for the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and the host/producer of the Christian Sports Minute, a radio feature airing on nearly 350 stations in North America. To receive Heroes of Faith, a book filled with 24 stories of well-known sports figures, send $10 to Greengard Family Ministries, P.O. Box 113013, Metairie, LA 70011-3013. Visit the website at www.christiansportsminute.com

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