Stewart Cink has been a regular in the Masters Tournament since 1997, and he's becoming an April favorite at Warren Baptist Church.
He will speak Tuesday, for the second time, at the Augusta Golf Breakfast, an annual outreach program sponsored by the church on Washington Road and the Greater Augusta Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Mr. Cink also spoke at the event in 2002. Other recent speakers have included 2007 Masters winner Zach Johnson and his wife, Kim; 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize; 2006 Players champion Fred Funk; 1996 U.S. Open winner Steve Jones; and former rookie of the year and Clemson graduate Jonathan Byrd.
"I'm not a minister," said Mr. Cink, a 13-year veteran of the PGA Tour. "I know what my beliefs are, and I just try to convey what I believe to people who are there that don't know anything about Christ. I basically just use my platform that golf gives me to share my beliefs."
Mr. Cink considers himself a relative newcomer to his faith, having recommitted himself to Christ shortly after graduating from Georgia Tech. He was already married while in college to Lisa, and he credits her with leading him back to the church.
"I wasn't ever really a bad kid or anything, but I had my moments," he said. "But I just didn't have everything. I had a lot -- more than what most people could ever ask for or wish for. But I wasn't complete. I was just searching for that missing piece. That's what I found."
His beliefs don't make him one of the best golfers in the world -- he has four career victories and eight appearances on the elite U.S. teams competing in the Ryder, Presidents and World cups -- but his faith does help sustain him as he performs his job.
"It's made a significant difference in the person I am," Mr. Cink said. "I think the person you are definitely translates into how well you play on the golf course. I feel like I have a lot of calmness through some tough times and some really great times in golf.
"No matter what happens, I have this solid foundation, and that's my beliefs. Hopefully rooted in what I think is reality. It keeps me standing firm on something."
Mr. Cink is one of the more candid golfers, evaluating his career with a critical eye. He often has called himself an "underachiever," though he remains one of the most consistent contenders on tour. Already this year, Mr. Cink has posted two runner-up finishes and a tie for third in six PGA Tour starts.
When Mr. Cink's golf does put him on center stage, however, he keeps his faith understated. He prefers to use his profile to share his message at breakfasts such as the one next week and similar ones held throughout the season in tour-stop towns.
"I don't really do the grandstand on the 18th hole, even though maybe some people who share my beliefs think I should do that," he said. "I'm sensitive to the fact that you can drive people away by opening your mouth at the wrong time."
His stature as a golfer does provide him that platform when he chooses to use it.
"The Bible says that we're to supposed to preach the word and we're supposed to go out and share the message to everywhere on the Earth," he said. "I'm content with the way I go about doing things. I speak at breakfasts a lot and try to spread the word without saying a word. That's what Larry Moody, the chaplain out here (on the PGA Tour) says. It's one of his favorite phrases. That's just by living your life as an example, and that's what I try to do."
Reach Scott Michaux at (706) 823-3219 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Augusta Golf Breakfast
WHEN: 7 a.m. Tuesday
WHERE: Warren Baptist Church, 3203 Washington Road