Open de France, Paris – 27-29 June 2018
Hype surrounded this year’s Open de France because the course upon which it is played – Le Golf National – is the venue for the 2018 Ryder Cup in September. Several big-name players were in the field with the added objective in mind of getting a proper peak at the course in advance of the iconic event in September.
World number two Justin Thomas (USA) was there, as were Jon Rahm (Spain), Graeme McDowell (NIR), Thomas Bjorn (Den), Ian Poulter (Eng) and Sergio Garcia (Spain). Le Golf National is a beautiful course, but a tough one, and the 25mph wind on a scorching Thursday made scoring difficult. Only 14 players in a field of 150+ finished in red numbers after the first round. The rough was unforgiving and it will be interesting to see if it is cut back slightly for the Ryder Cup.
On Wednesday, four of us – two players, a European Tour support staff member and I – had an encouraging hour studying Matthew chapter 8 and praying together. The phrase leading our time was ‘faith and following’, delving into the chapter and looking at the different stories in which varying levels of ‘faith and following’ manifested themselves.
There was the leper (v 1-4), the centurion (v 5-13), the teacher (v 18-22) and the disciples (v 23-27). Working our way through each of those four short accounts, we noted and reflected on examples of amazing faith, wavering faith, dedicated following of Jesus, or following that was outmuscled by other priorities. Laced through all that were constant reminders of the power, consistency, hope and reliability there is in Jesus Christ.
The notes from this study were circulated to five more people not present at the Open de France; two players and two caddies competing in the Asian Tour event in Thailand, and a golf coach often present on the European Tour.
On Thursday, during duties with the equipment survey, there was an unexpected conversation with a caddie. His response to hearing that I was involved in a Christian role was that some of his grown-up children find church meaningful back in the UK, therefore he has a healthy respect for the Christian faith.
Later on Thursday evening, I had a chance to catch up with a player-caddie partnership who I’ve regularly met with and got to know quite well. This was a shorter get-together, but an equally valuable one, particularly from the perspective of offering encouragement when it was needed.
So, all in, a lot squeezed into a couple of days and God blessed us in many ways. Through study, through fellowship, through unexpected conversations, through success in tasks needing completed and through safety in travel. I am thankful to Him for all of that. He definitely ‘goes before’ us.
A sincere thanks again to those who pray and support this role on the European Tour, which is continuing to be such a worthwhile one.
Amy, Jessica and I are having a week’s holiday in Scotland now, before a busy fortnight at the Scottish Open and The Open. At both I will stay on for the full week for BBC Scotland duties.
Bye for now, Kenny
Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour. You can follow Kenny on Twitter here.