I was about to panic. Our movie was to start shooting in about four weeks and we had not found someone to play the “antagonist” - the world’s number one golfer. We were casting the part as an Asian superstar with the screen name of TK Oh. Tom Lehman and I had been working diligently on this task for weeks.
It was a Thursday afternoon in July as I was sitting in my living room contemplating. My phone dinged and it was a text from Tom confirming that a golfer we had been interested in playing the part had declined. It was 10 at night where Tom was playing in the Scottish Open. I texted back and asked if he had any other ideas.
While waiting on a reply I clicked on the golf channel. The John Deere Classic was just coming on. They zoomed in on a golfer who was using a very unique putting style for the first time. He was putting Face-On. It was the first time in the history of the PGA Tour that this style had been attempted. It was similar to the Sam Snead side-saddle putting style but this player was using a long putter. It was exactly the style introduced in my book and the style that would be used during the climax of our movie. It was the symbol of breaking tradition that was paramount to the message of our story. I couldn’t believe it. The commentator said, “This guy must be desperate.” But the second commentator said, “No, he is actually 34th in the world in putting stats.” At that moment, KJ Choi putted his ball Face-On from about 30 feet and the ball fell into the bottom of the cup.
At that moment, a text from Tom came. Remember, he is in Scotland, 10:00 pm, no TV. The text simply said, “Have you considered KJ Choi? He is a fellow believer as well.” My heart skipped a beat or two. I texted back and shared what just happened. We were both in awe. I then texted another PGA Tour player and asked him for KJ’s manager’s cell number. Within a few minutes I was on the phone with him and the rest is history. KJ Choi became our antagonist. Being a former power-lifter, he had the perfect look and no-nonsense persona for this God ordained part in the movie.
While we didn’t need him to putt Face-On in the movie, God had used this sign to lead us to KJ. KJ used the Face-On method only in the John Deere Classic and one other event. The timing and precision of God left me in awe. I still get goose bumps thinking of that day…
Later that week when KJ had a chance to read my book he said he wept when he read the verse that gave the golfer in the book the courage to pull out the face on putter for the first time: Luke 5: 4, “Push out into the deep…”. KJ said that was the verse God gave him on the day of the John Deere Classic when he needed the courage to use that style for the first time.