After winning the U.S. Open earlier this summer, Larry Nelson told reporters that he often talked to God as he played the final two rounds.

“I prayed between shots, but I prayed for peace,” the golfer said. “I don’t pray to sink putts or hit to the pin. I pray for peace so I can make the shot.”

Nelson won his sixth and greatest victory in storybook style. He shot an unimpressive 75 the first day, giving him a tie for twenty-fifth place. He improved the second day, shooting a 72. Then on Saturday, television cameras began turning his way as he masterfully shot a 65—the best score of the tournament. When rain halted play in the final round, Nelson was tied with Tom Watson at four under par.

Play resumed the next morning with Nelson on the sixteenth tee. His shot landed a disappointing 62 feet from the hole. Then came the most dramatic shot of the tournament—perhaps of the golfing year. His putt rolled downhill over two terraces and curled into the hole. The remarkable shot and subsequent victory interrupted a long slump in Nelson’s career. Since winning his first major championship in 1981, the 35-year-old golfer had not won a tournament.

Nelson’s first Professional Golfer’s Association (PGA) Tour win came in 1979 when he brought home a trophy and $54,000 from the Jackie Gleason Inverary Classic. That year he also won the Western Open and was named Most Improved Golfer of 1979 by Golf Digest magazine. Last year he became the thirty-fourth PGA golfer to surpass the million-dollar level in career earnings.

Success as a professional golfer provides opportunities for Nelson to share his faith in Christ. His wife, Gayle, committed her life to Christ in 1975 after hearing Cindy Massengale, wife of golfer Rik Massengale, give her testimony. Nelson was convinced that his wife had met God.

“I could tell that something significant had happened to her,” he said. “We both had earlier acknowledged that something was missing in our lives after hearing Billy Graham at a gathering sponsored by the tour Bible study.”

Two weeks later in a motel, recovering from a neck injury. Nelson reached for a copy of The Living Bible. Billy Graham had said God could be found by reading Romans and the Gospel of John. So Nelson began reading.

“Gayle talked with me about how she had trusted Christ,” he said. “And as I read the Bible I began to understand that I, too, needed him as my personal Savior. So there in the motel I asked Christ into my life.”

Some sportswriters have gone out of their way to be critical of Nelson’s quiet personality. But fellow Christians recognize his deep faith. After speaking to a PGA Tour chapel gathering, Stephen Olford sized Nelson up: “While he is quiet and reserved, he is a man of tremendous strength and unbelievable convictions. Here’s a man you won’t move in his commitment to Christ.”

Ed Mcateer Prepares To Run For U.S. Senate

Ed McAteer, one of the architects of the Religious Right’s rise in political affairs, is preparing to run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker of Tennessee.

McAteer, 57, is a Southern Baptist from Memphis and a former sales executive with Colgate Palmolive. He entered political affairs as national field director for the Christian Freedom Foundation and the Conservative Caucus, before founding the Religious Roundtable, a consortium of conservative religious leaders, in 1979.

McAteer coordinated the conservative religious rally in Dallas in August 1980, attended by presidential candidate Ronald Reagan. Reagan acknowledged in his speech there that the conservative leaders could not endorse a specific candidate. Nonetheless, Reagan said, “I endorse you,” thus throwing Christian politics into the focus of the national press.

McAteer, a Republican, says he will formally announce his candidacy in November. He said polls show he has strong name recognition in his home county and throughout the state, and that he is accepted by 26 percent of blacks who know him. His poll also showed that no less than 80 percent of Tennessee voters have personal relationships with Jesus Christ, compared to a national average of about 30 percent.


Roger L. Thompson, 35, Southern Baptist missionary, preacher, teacher of Old Testament at Baptist Theological Institute in Quito, Ecuador; July 11, in the worst air disaster in Ecuador’s history, a crash of a Boeing 737 that claimed the lives of 119 people.

Arlan Klingberg, pilot for Mission Aviation Fellowship serving in Irian Jaya (part of the island of New Guinea); July 11, near Sentani, Irian Jaya, Indonesia, after the twin-engine airplane he was piloting went down.

J. W. Montgomery, 88, founder and long-time president of the Bible Study League of America in Columbus, Ohio; July 17. in Greenville, Ohio, of complications stemming from a bout of pneumonia.

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