Id love to take credit for such inspiration, but I cant plagiarize a president. Especially not one who had polio and presided from a wheel chair. Just doesnt seem right.
Instead I credit Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That is how he defined perseverance. Perseverance, I say, is opening a door only to find the next one closed. Open that one and the next one is closed. But instead of wasting away, discouraged in the dark, you keep opening until you finally see the light.
Perseverance can be found in Trevor Immelman, he who overcame a parasite in his stomach and tumor on his diaphragm to win this years Masters Tournament.
It can be found in Ji-Yai Shin, who won the Womens British Open five years after her mother was killed and her brother and sister were seriously injured in a car accident.
Its there in Dudley Hart, a father of now 7-year-old triplets who returned home in 2007 to take care of his family while his wife, Suzanne, had two-thirds of one lung removed due to a non-smoking tumor (As a father of 6-month-old twins, and with a healthy wife to help out, I shudder at this scenario).
Hart was granted a Major Medical Extension this season, giving him 15 starts to earn nearly $486,000 to keep his card. The 40-year-old did that before April and finished the season 29th on the money list with a career-best $2,218,817.
Thats perseverance, that which is also personified in the strength of Seve Ballesteros and Todd Demsey (brain cancer for both), and in the fortitude of Stacy Lewis (scoliosis) and Nicole Jeray (narcolepsy).
Its the salient theme of Erik Comptons well chronicled story, the one about a man living life and playing golf on his third heart. Its the same in the far more inconspicuous tale of Taylor Anderson, a 21-year-old who learned to play golf ' and love it ' one-armed after being born paralyzed on the right side of his body.
Its evident in Tony Johnstone. Multiple Sclerosis wracked his central nervous system, causing him to re-learn the parts of his game that led to six European Tour wins. That kind of thing happens to you and youre lucky to be a decent club player.
Johnstone, rather, overhauled his swing and putting stroke, and won an event on the European Seniors Tour.
This will show people not to give up hope, the Zimbabwean said. Thats my goal really: to show MS sufferers it' not the end of the road.
Bryce Molders road has taken him to all sorts of places, most of which he probably never hoped to visit. Thats what happens when you spend the better part of your professional career on the Nationwide Tour.
Molder was a four-time, first-team All-America selection at Georgia Tech, one of only four men to ever claim such a distinction. That, however, meant little when he waived his amateur status.
Molder will now compete in just his second full season on the PGA Tour, having earned his 2009 card by finishing 23rd on the Nationwide Tour money list.
His story isnt unlike many others ' until you consider that Molder was born without a left pectoral muscle, which makes that side of his chest concave, and with Poland Syndrome, a defect that made his left hand much smaller than his right.
Molder turns 30 in January. Johnstone is 52. Conor Oliver is 13. Anyone, at any age, can exhibit perseverance.
Oliver was 11 when he was diagnosed with leukemia. Two years later he was the Oregon Junior Amateur champion in his age group.
If perseverance had a face in 2008, it belonged to D.J. Gregory. Actually, it was more evident not in his face, but in his gait.
Gregory was born with Cerebral Palsy. Doctors told his family hed never walk. At the age of 30, with only one assisting cane, he traversed 3,184 holes on the PGA Tour ' nearly 1,000 miles.
He walked every hole on every course, every week on Tour in 2008. Each move a laborious, disjointed effort; his body resembling someone turning a Rubiks Cube every which way just to make each step work.
He fell 29 times. Got back up 29 times, too.
I just want people to know that if they have a dream, Gregory says, they need to chase it and never take no for an answer.
That is the true definition of perseverance.