In a frustrating year that has tested him emotionally, Jbe' Kruger has ventured deep into the South African bushveld this week hoping to find the one thing he thought he’d never lose.
“Somewhere along the line I’ve lost my swing,” said Kruger, who is playing in this week’s Vodacom Origins of Golf tournament at Euphoria Golf Estate, which teed off on Wednesday and finishes on Friday.
“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 an incredible 2012 where he won on the European Tour to add to his two victories on the Sunshine Tour, and he’s been one of the stars on the Asian Tour over the last two years. But he’s struggled to make cuts this year.
“I’ve always known I could rely on my swing, and that if I putt well in a week I’ll be contending for titles. But at the moment it’s like I need to putt well just to make cuts. It’s been an up-and-down year for me.”
Watching from the sidelines at a time in the golf year when it’s all about majors and limited field events such as the World Golf Championships has also been frustrating. But Kruger has decided to use the time to return home to the Sunshine Tour and rebuild his game and his confidence.
“It’s about coming back to a relaxing environment where I feel comfortable and working on what I need to. The Vodacom Origins tournaments offer that kind of environment. I need this with the kind of season I’m having.”
The serenity of the bushveld environment in the Waterberg is also helping with Kruger’s other quest – finding balance in his life.
“Golf takes over your life, and 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. Look, it’s not often you’ll find a happy golfer who’s playing badly. But you can’t let it take over the rest of your life. It’s difficult because the nature of the game demands a single focus. You need to have fight in you to succeed. It takes everything to succeed in this game, which is why not so many golfers make it to the top. But I just feel there’s a fine line between this and letting golf take over the rest of your life.”
By Michael Vlismas