Scottish Open and The Open – July 2018
What a fortnight in Scotland! It’s been a privilege to have been involved for the full duration of both the Scottish Open and The Open – the first time I’ve worked at both of those events in the same year. They were staged at two links courses – Gullane and Carnoustie – totally deserving of top level golf, with the sun shining almost continuously throughout adding to everyone’s enjoyment.
Let’s start with the Scottish Open in Gullane, East Lothian – a region of Scotland known for its amazing golf courses. With this being a lucrative Rolex event and also a handy warm-up opportunity for The Open, there was a formidable field. Masters champion Patrick Reed played, as did the likes of Phil Mickelson and Rickie Fowler, who had won at Gullane in 2015.
On the Wednesday before the Scottish Open, seven of us met for Bible study at a table in the sun outside the players’ lounge. Present were three players, a caddie, a coach, me and Ken Revie – the man who faithfully served in the LOGOS chaplaincy role before me. As I said to Ken, the amount of people who came to him as he walked along the practice range that day was testament to how good a job he had done establishing real relationships with those on the European Tour.
The seven of us read and reflected together on Exodus 3; the story of Moses being called by God from the burning bush. We reminded each other to be listening out for God’s voice and call, to have the confidence and faith to accept the calling and not to underestimate the power of the God who leads us into and through the calling. Afterwards we prayed together and it was heartening to do that as the busy-ness of the Scottish Open build-up went on around us.
One of the other highlights of the Scottish Open week was spending some time with one of the staff on the European Tour. He is extremely interested and supportive of the work and I’m so encouraged by that as we move forward.
The Open at Carnoustie was equally meaningful in some of the same ways and in some different ways. As many of you will know, The Open championship is referred to as ‘the one true test’ and arguably the best major of them all. All the big names were in the field, including a certain Mr Woods!
The magnitude of the event means that everyone seems busier and more focused than at other regular events, yet it was great that five of us were still able to put all that to one side for 45 minutes on the Wednesday. Only one of the players we normally meet with had managed to qualify for the Open; so he joined us, as did a caddie, a coach, and a member of the European Tour logistics team.
‘Be part of forever’ had been the 2018 Open’s catchphrase on their advertising, so I thought it was an appropriate chance for us to be reminded how, as Christians, we really can go into every day knowing we can ‘be part of forever’ through the eternal life promised to us through Jesus Christ. Again, we finished our meeting with a time of prayer and also a parting encouragement for us all to ‘Be still and know that I am God’ amidst a whirlwind week.
During the week of The Open there were other good opportunities to let some other Seniors Tour players know about the work on the European Tour. They are very open about their faith and were pleased to hear what goes on. I also had good chats with a Christian PGA Tour player from the USA, and a Christian caddie for another PGA Tour player.
At both the Scottish Open and The Open, I stayed on for the full events to fulfil BBC Scotland duties, and I was encouraged further about how the two roles continue to compliment each other.
I’m currently on holiday with family but look forward to resuming the Christians in Sport/LOGOS work at the Czech Masters near Prague towards the end of August.
Thanks for your support and prayers over this busy July!
Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour. You can follow Kenny on Twitter here.