Just when we need some magic in our lives, bestselling author James Patterson and Peter de Jonge bring us a stirring tale of life, love, and the power of miracles.
Travis McKinley is an ordinary man living an ordinary life—he has a job that he despises, a marriage that has lost its passion, children from whom he feels disconnected, and at age fifty, a sense that he has accomplished nothing of consequence with his life. But on Christmas Day, he goes out to play a round of golf, and for the first time, he finds himself in the "zone". He sees the putting line that has eluded him for years. Always a fairly good golfer, he finds himself playing like a pro and is so caught up in his excitement that he continues to play, sinking putt after putt, missing Christmas dinner with his wife and family. It is too much for his already troubled marriage.
His family collapes—but Travis is soon too busy living his dream to notice. His amazing new golf skills catapult him into the PGA Senior Open at Pebble Beach, where he advances to the final round with two of his heroes, Jack Nicklaus and Raymond Floyd. And with his wife, children,and a live television audience watching, a miracle takes place on the 17th green that will change Travis, and his family, forever.
Part One | A Little Noise from Winnetka
I KNOW WHAT YOU’RE THINKING. What’s the big deal about a nine-foot putt in a practice round on a deserted golf course in the dead of winter, with the only witness a skinny red squirrel who had hopped onto the green in search of an acorn or two?
Let me give you a little quick background.
Except for tap-ins and your basic no-account three-or four-footers, I don’t make putts less than twelve feet. My nickname, borrowed in a most unflattering way from the former world welterweight champion Roberto Duran, is “Hands of Stone.” In spite of that, I’ve been club champ here at the Creekview Country Club in Winnetka five out of the past twelve years.
But it wasn’t just that the putt on 17 went in. Everybody gets lucky sometime.
It was how the putt went in.
It didn’t creep in the side door, or dribble in the front, or start off-line and get corrected by a spike mark. It was dead center from the instant it touched off my blade until it rammed home with all the subtlety of a Shaquille O’Neal dunk.
But even more important was the feeling I had as I stood over the putt. I knew it was going in.
Knew it in my hands, shoulders, legs, and bones.
Knew it with a degree of certainty that was almost spooky.
It was like something that had already happened, and all I had to do was patiently wait for the present to catch up.
For the first time in forty years, I could actually see the line. My nickname notwithstanding, my putting problem was never really my touch. It was in my eyes, or somewhere behind them in the plumbing of my brain. Does it break three inches or two? Does it break at the beginning or the end? Your guess was as good as mine.
But that morning as I stood with my eyes directly over the Titleist logo, my putting dyslexia was cured. It was as if someone from the Winnetka Highway Department had painted a dotted white line between my ball and the hole. Or better yet, had laid a small stretch of track about the size of my younger son, Noah’s, train set, and all I had to do was get the ball started right and then watch it roll as if it were on rails into the center of the cup.
But, as I said before, this isn’t the miracle I’m trying to tell you about.
Copyright © 1996 by James Patterson
Read by Hal Linden
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