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
WHEN I FINALLY WALKED into the kitchen, I was actually met by five pairs of angry eyes. I don’t believe I mentioned Boris, our black-and-brown Welsh terrier, who also joined the group scowl, and may even have growled. This wasn’t the first time I had faced this particular mob. I had let them down before, so much so that Simon had dubbed me the “late” Travis McKinley.
“Merry Christmas,” offered Sarah, with exactly as much warmth and genuine Yuletide spirit as I deserved.
“I know it’s inexcusable,” I blurted. “I’m sorry. When I looked at my watch, I swear I couldn’t believe it.”
“No big deal, Old Man,” said Elizabeth, who had flown in from New Haven the night before. “All you did is miss Christmas dinner.”
“You’re being too hard on the guy, Liz,” said Simon, bristling with the kind of wounded sarcasm only a seventeen-year-old can muster. “He’s just in that mild funk again. You know, the one he’s been in since Armstrong walked on the moon.”
Because we identified with each other so closely, I realize now that my long slump had hurt Simon at least as much as me. If I’d got my act together a little sooner, maybe he wouldn’t have three holes in his right ear. Maybe he wouldn’t have been suspended two days this fall for getting in a fistfight in the hallway with some goon on the football team. But Simon’s going to be all right, I swear it.
“Don’t worry,” said Noah, who hates to see anyone looking miserable. “There’ll be another one in exactly three hundred sixty-five days.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t be so sure of that,” said Sarah. “At least not one that you’re invited to.”
I stood there with my face covered with mud and sweat, and dried blood where a branch had scraped my chin as I sprinted back through the woods. I stared hopelessly at Sarah, who was wearing a simple black dress and had her hair pulled back. She kept shaking her head, and the look on her face was about as pure as disgust can get.
“I know no one is going to believe this or be interested,” I said, “but I was having a semireligious experience out there.”
“What? You finally sunk a few putts?” snorted Elizabeth, provoking laughter all around and a particularly merry approving glance from her mom.
When am I going to learn to keep my moronic mouth shut? I asked myself in despair. The only good news was that my mad sprint through the woods had got me home in time to do the dishes and clean up. Noah, good soul that he is, stayed in the kitchen to help me dry. The work, and his company, temporarily took my mind off the paralyzing fear that I might eventually screw up one time too many and lose my place in this family.
Or maybe I already had.
Copyright © 1996 by James Patterson
Read by Hal Linden
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