Rising with Confidence
Backed by a fierce work ethic, Jacques Kruyswijk looks for a breakout year in 2017.
ON MAKING GOLF A PROFESSION
I’m proud to say that I’m one of the hardest workers on tour. I take it very seriously. I’m not out there to make friends and have a good time – I’m there to be the best athlete I can be and win tournaments. I’ve sacrificed a lot, including relationships, to achieve my goals and will do whatever it takes to keep improving.
ON A RURAL UPBRINGING
I grew up on a farm in Louis Trichardt in the Far North where my family bred horses and cattle. I was 13 when I started playing golf at the Koro Creek estate in Modimolle (Nylstroom) and quickly progressed to representing Limpopo in their provincial teams. I wasn’t able to travel to that many amateur events around the country, but I was grateful when those opportunities came.
ON LEARNING FROM A LOSS
In the Vodacom Origins event at Vaal de Grace in 2015 I opened with rounds of 66 and 63 to lead Jean Hugo by two shots through 36 holes. I shot 67 in the final round to finish on 20-under-par, and still lost by one. Jean shot 64. At the time the defeat was tough to take, but it ended up being a valuable learning experience. I might not have held my nerve so well coming down the stretch at Royal Cape (in the Cape Town Open) had it not been for memories of that day atVaal de Grace.
ON THE IMPORTANCE OF PATIENCE
I have always been hard on myself in this game. I got frustrated because I wasn’t getting the results I wanted from all the work I was putting in. I started seeing sports
psychologist Maretha Claasen 18 months ago, and she has taught me that golf is a process. It takes time to mature as a professional, and I am mentally tougher because of her guidance.
ON TURNING HIS BACK ON AMATEUR GOLF
In early 2011 I was ranked within the top 8 of the SA Golf Association rankings and reached the semifinals of the SA Amateur at Vaal de Grace, but was not selected for the national team. It was actually a blessing, because it made me more determined to prove people wrong. I decided to start playing IGT events to test myself against professionals, and that made me better prepared for when I turned pro.
ON BEING BLOWN AWAY BY STORM
In January I played the first two rounds of the SA Open with eventual champion Graeme Storm.At some stage during the second round I said to my caddie that this guy is going to win the tournament. I played decently and signed for a 69, but only realised that Graeme had shot 63 when I signed his card. He hadn’t hit the ball better than me, but his phenomenal short game outclassed me. It was an excellent example of how an experienced European Tour pro manages his game – and of where I need to be in the future.
ON ANIMALS HOLDING UP PLAY
I’ve had two amusing experiences where animals have disrupted my round. In a social round at Koro Creek, when I was an amateur, a puff adder came out of the bush and slithered into the back of our golf cart where the clubs were stored.We abandoned the round and a snake-handler had to be called to restore order. At the 2014 Nedbank Affinity Cup at Lost City a monkey nabbed my pro-am partner’s phone from the cart. We chased it into thick bush, eventually retrieving the device, but causing a 30-minute delay.
Jacques Kruyswijk signs a cap for a young fan after winning the Cape Town Open.