Travis McKinley's life has drifted sideways. His job, his marriage, even his children all feel disconnected and distant. Has he really accomplished nothing of consequence in his life? One Christmas Day, Travis plays a round of golf and finds himself for the first time in the zone-playing like a pro. In astonishingly short order, Travis is catapulted into the PGA Senior Open at Pebble Beach, where he advances to the final round. And while his wife, his children, and a live television audience watch, a miracle takes place that changes Travis and his family forever.
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About the Author
Hometown:Palm Beach, Florida
Date of Birth:March 22, 1947
Place of Birth:Newburgh, New York
Education:B.A., Manhattan College, 1969; M.A., Vanderbilt University, 1971
Read an Excerpt
Miracle on the 17th Green
Chapter OneIt was Christmas morning and a balmy 38 degrees. In other words, a perfect day for golf, and there I stood on the semifrozen mud of the 17th tee at the Creekview Country Club in Winnetka, Illinois.
My marriage was disintegrating. My three kids, whom I love more than life itself, didn't know what to make of me lately, and I had a terrible feeling that come January, I was going to be fired from my job at Leo Burnett. Who knows, if everything went as badly as it possibly could, there was a chance I might be one of the homeless after that.
Ho! Ho! Ho!
I bent down, teed up an old scuffed Titleist, and squinted through the wind at the long tight par 5, lined on both sides by towering black leafless elms.
Now what follows is one of those mystical, largely unexplainable, out-of-body experiences, so please bear with me. Or as Fin Scully used to say at the start of his golf telecasts, pull up a chair and make yourself comfortable. I admit that in sheer unlikelihood, this probably ranks right up there with Truman upsetting Dewey, It's a Wonderful Life, and John Daly winning the British Open.
What can I say? Stuff happens to people. Tragedies befall saints. Fortune smiles on cretins. Extraordinary things happen to ordinary people. And this happened to me.
Since it is such a crucial number in this story, I should point out that I was starting my round on 17. Despite the unseasonable thaw, it was Christmas, the course was empty, and 17 just happened to be the tee closest to where I parked. Anyway, I knocked the cover off my drive.
Nothing unusual about that. I hit the ball farther than the pro here at Creekview. I even hit the ball farther than the current champ, Mark Duffel, who's twenty.
I trudged down the fairway, nudged my ball away from a sprinkler head, and hit my second shot, a 185-yard, 5-iron, stiff. Suddenly, I was feeling better. To hell with my problems. Golf can have that effect.
Now, here comes the weird part. This is where everything gets a little spooky, and I took my first step on this road-either to salvation or damnation.
I stroked that putt so clean and solid.
I put such a pure sweet roll on it, the ball traveled over the grass like a bead of mercury rolls across the floor after you break a thermometer.
The beginning of a miracle. A harbinger. A sign.
The little white ball dropped into the little white cup for eagle.
I was hooked.
I was elated.
I was doomed.
I must tell you right now however, that this isn't the so-called Miracle on 17. Not even close.
I hurried to the next tee.
Excerpted from Miracle on the 17th Green by James Patterson Peter de Jonge Copyright © 1999 by James Patterson . Excerpted by permission.
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