“My swing has always been good and it’s something I’ve never struggled with. I’ve had slumps before, but this is the first one where my swing is the problem,” he said.
Kruger had a stellar 2012 season, in which he won the European Tour’s Avantha Masters and finished third on the Asian Tour Order of Merit. But 2013 has been a cruel mistress for the diminutive Bloemfonteiner.
“I need this with the kind of season I’m having,” was Kruger’s explanation for his brief stint on the Sunshine Tour, which resulted in a tie for second at Vodacom Origins of Golf Langebaan.
The 27-year-old will be prepared for the Welsh weather after his week on South Africa’s West Coast, but navigating his way around The Celtic Manor Resort will be tough. Last year’s winning total was six-under-par, and defending champion Thongchai Jaidee was impressed with his first look at the 2013 setup.
“The course set up is fantastic this year, the greens are even better than 12 months ago, they are just so pure,” explained Jaidee. “The fairway set up is also fantastic, but the bunkers will be a test as there is quite a bit of sand in them, and they could be difficult to play from, especially in the fairways.”
Kruger’s focus for the week is a return to form. If a player becomes too wrapped up in the game it can be detrimental to their focus, and the two-time Sunshine Tour winner was all too aware of the pitfalls.
“You can’t let golf take over the rest of your life. It’s difficult because the nature of the game demands a single focus. If you’re not playing well then you tend to see your whole life as a mess. I need to learn to separate the two,” he said.
During the first round at the 2012 Wales Open Kruger had a 10-shot blowout at the par-four 14th and went on to miss the cut by three shots. This week he’ll look to keep it in play as he works his way back to form, and making the cut will be his first goal.