Small Posture, Big Stature
– by Andrew Georgiou
Mention the name JB Kruger (James Barry Kruger) in golf circles in South Africa and everybody immediately knows who he is. This 28 year old from Bloemfontein does not only overflow with sport talent, but he is also an outspoken ambassador for Christ. I chatted with him on the golf course…
JB, when did you give your life to Jesus?
I grew up in a Christian home where we always went to church. I also did all the things that one would expect Christians to do, but about eight years ago, I gave my heart to Jesus. He is now the most important in my life, even more important than golf.
How do you handle temptations while you are on tour so that your relationship with Him does not come into question?
It remains a challenge because you ought to stand out as an ambassador for Him everywhere. Non-Christians watch you and it is important that your behaviour is a testimony to Him at all times. One often finds golfers swearing and even blaspheming. It is very important to me that I point it out to them to not use God’s Name in vain. You should not even swear. Although I confess that I sometimes fall into this trap when I maybe play a terrible shot.
When you play in a golf tournament, what does your daily routine look like?
My day always begins and ends with God; it does not matter where I am and what tournament I am participating in. I start my day with prayer. Then the normal morning routine follows and I like to warm up about two hours before I tee off. That is quite important to me. I also pray the whole time, not only to play well, but also that my reaction to my game would be of such that I would not reflect poorly on Him.
Do you get disappointed in God when all does not go so well for you?
I don’t get disappointed in God, but often in myself and how I handled certain situations. I do not think one can get disappointed in Him; His Word says that He will let all things work together for good for those that love Him. I also know that God allows certain situations because He wants to strengthen me and build my character. Nothing can rip me out of His Hand.
Can you tell us what the highlight of your career has been so far?
I have to single out two tournaments. It was a highlight for me to be the winner of the 2009 Zambian Open, but in 2010 I experienced God’s Hand very clearly during the Zimbabwe Open. Anyone who was there will know that at times I hit the ball completely wrong, and yet God made things work out for me in a very special way, enabling me to walk away as the winner. I still get shivers going down my spine when I think about that. I could feel God’s presence during that tournament.
What are the goals for your life?
I want to honour God’s Name in all that I do. I want to live and play golf in such a way that I do not have to lower my head in shame before Him one day. Concerning my career: I just want to give my best on the golf course.
Is there a golf hero that inspires you?
Gary Player is most definitely my hero, not just because he is also rather ‘small’ like me and has achieved so much in the sporting arena, but also because he is an outspoken Christian who is an example to so many other people.
Any tips for young players?
Practice is the most important aspect to improve your skill. Keep your head still and not to move over the ball, because that determines your follow through, which in turn determines the entire stroke.
How do you handle the emotional pressure of professional golf?
God is always there for me as His child and that makes the difference. Money can never be everything. If I should die tomorrow and my affairs with Him are not in order, what would it help me to have, say, two or three million rand in the bank? He is always there for me and that is why I love to talk to others about Him, even on tour. The greatest challenge for anybody, whether you are a professional sport star, or just an ordinary person, is to live in such a way that He is glorified in all circumstances.
Andrew Georgiou is a professional golf player. For more information, visit www.andrewgeorgiou.com