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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.

Scottish Open at Gullane

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 Open at Carnoustie

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

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  Buy Tastylia (Tadalafil) Online No Prescription.

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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

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Shot Clock Masters, Austria, 5-7 June

A busy three-week spell ended with a great few days at the Shot Clock Masters in Atzenbrugg, Austria – about an hour west of Vienna in the car. I had been to Austria once before in 2010 but was again struck by how pleasant a country it is. The towns I passed through or stayed in were all very clean and people seem to do a good job of looking after their own patch.

This was a lower profile European Tour event than the likes of Wentworth’s PGA Championship and the Italian Open in the weeks earlier, but still a really productive one in terms of relationship building.

Two Scottish players and a caddie arrived at Vienna airport at the same time as me and we ended up sharing a car journey to the golf course together, which was the first of several nice, unplanned opportunities that week to get to know people better.

On another occasion, I shared a meal with five caddies and it was interesting to have conversations with them about some of the joys and challenges of that role.

Of the players I normally meet up with for a Bible study, there was only one of them playing at this event, but we still had a meaningful time together looking at the closing part of the story of Joseph in a few different parts of Genesis 45 – 50.

We focused on the mercy and grace shown by Joseph to his brothers, when he revealed his identity in Egypt. The brothers, in the knowledge of their wrongdoing towards him, expected Joseph would want retribution, yet Joseph was forgiving and willing to give them a fresh start.

Genesis 50 v 20-21: Joseph said to his brothers: “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. So then, don’t be afraid, I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

We then paralleled that with a well known verse in Romans to reflect on God’s mercy and grace towards us through Jesus Christ.

Romans 5 v 8: “While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Even if all the players I normally meet with are not there, the content of the study is still circulated to them so they can reflect on it wherever they are in the world!

Further chances and opportunities to get alongside new people arose unexpectedly during the week, and it highlighted again to me that God goes before us and prepares the way for encounters he wants to happen – even if it is just to talk about normal things. I am hugely encouraged and excited about the week in Austria.

The next event I’m attending is the Open de France at the end of June, so it will be nice to have a couple of weeks over the next fortnight where my work keeps me in the Glasgow area.

Thanks for all your support and prayers.

Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  Buy Tastylia (Tadalafil) Online No Prescription.

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The European Tour moved from Wentworth to Brescia, near the south of Lake Garda, for the Italian Open and it was great to be part of another one of the more high-profile events on the calendar. Fleetwood, Poulter, McDowell, Noren, Kaymer…many big names were there competing for a prize pot in equal value to Wentworth.

Crowds were predictably lower than that of England a week before, but the weather warmer and the ‘Gardagolf’ course stunning in places. It is the golfing home of Italy’s Matteo Mannasero.

 Wednesday was spent catching up with three golfers and a caddie for some Bible study and prayer. We looked at part of the story of Joseph in Genesis – what a great character to learn lessons and take inspiration from!

We looked at some of the different periods in his life between Genesis 37 – 41. Periods of prosperity and periods of prison, yet God was with him during both. Periods of pressure when he made the right call in difficult situations because of his close relationship with God. Periods of proclaiming when he picked his moments to publicly acknowledge God’s help in his life.

The players were encouraged by reflecting on these areas of Joseph’s story and there were several parallels able to be drawn to the golfing world as well.

One of the players also introduced me to a golf coach who is a Christian and who is keen to keep in touch. He won’t be present at every event, but will meet with us at those he does come to.

That’s five events I’ve attended now and I’m thankful for how they have gone in terms of continuing the work with the Christian golfers, and in terms of building relationships with other players and people. A lot of conversations happen over these days at events – some short, some long – and they are all valuable in different ways.

Tomorrow morning, I fly out to Vienna for the Austria Shot-clock Masters. I’m looking forward to it and would appreciate your continued prayer support; for safety in travel and for the chance to have more meaningful times.

Thanks very much, Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  Buy Tastylia (Tadalafil) Online No Prescription.

 

 

 

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BMW PGA Championship, Wentworth, 22 – 24 May

What a privilege to be able to spend the week at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, the first time I’ve experienced that event in person.

Mixed weather on Thursday and Friday was gradually replaced by scorching sun at the weekend, providing fitting conditions for Italy’s Francesco Molinari to win after finishing as runner-up to Alex Noren last year.

I arrived on Tuesday evening and stayed in Sunningdale, just five minutes away by car. Wednesday’s focus was purely on supporting some of the Christian golfers/caddies and at this event it worked out better to see them individually at different times, because the hype and busyness  is much more than that of regular tournaments. It was heartening, also, to have one of the golfer’s girlfriends meet with us (she is also a Christian, but does not usually attend events because of the long travel it involves).

In the days leading up to Wentworth, the words in this verse in Genesis 28 v 20 had been on my heart:

“Then Jacob made a vow – if God will be with me and will watch over me on this journey I am taking, and will give me food to eat and clothes to wear so that I can return safely to my father’s household, then the Lord will be my God.”

Jacob had his flaws and sometimes his decision-making was questionable. But we mustn’t be too quick to criticise because that can sometimes be true of us as well! Here was a juncture in his life when he saw the big picture of God’s provision, leading and sovereignty so clearly, and when that sunk in, what was his reaction?….”The Lord will be my God.”

My encouragement to the golfers and caddies was that God would continue to provide, bless and lead them on their golfing “journey”, and that they should not lose sight of His hand guiding them on that journey, even during more challenging times. We concluded that making “the Lord my God” is most definitely worth it.

It won’t always be the case, but each of those players made the cut and two of them had top-20 finishes in what is the European Tour’s flagship event.

On Thursday, I helped as usual with the equipment survey and that continues to be a really useful time to be close again with the players and caddies. Later in the day, I crossed the path of a high-profile Scottish sportsman who was attending the event as a spectator. I had met him before through BBC work and it was good to share briefly with him the Christian aspect to my role on the European Tour.

I stayed on until the end of the event to fulfil duties for BBC Scotland and there’s absolutely no doubt my role in that capacity is only beneficial for my overall role on the European Tour, in terms of building relationships.

On Monday, I flew back to Glasgow and then on Tuesday I flew out to Milan before driving to Brescia/Lake Garda for three days at the Italian Open. It is great to have this opportunity.

While I am away my wife Amy is doing a faithful job looking after our two-year old daughter Jessica, so please pray for their ongoing blessing and protection, too.

Thank you for your support and prayers, of which I really am sincerely grateful.

Kenny

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Rocco Forte Sicilian Open, 8 – 10 May 2018

The third trip of 2018 was to the Rocce Forte Sicilian Open at the Verdura Golf resort near Sciacca, on the south coast of Sicily. A combination of the sunny weather and the links set-up of the course made this a stunning venue for a European Tour event.

Many of the higher profile players chose not to put this on their schedule, preferring instead to have some rest or practice time at home as they gear up for Wentworth in a couple of weeks. Indeed, the players I had met up with on behalf of LOGOS / Christians in Sport at previous events in Madrid and Morocco opted not to travel to Sicily. However, my prayer was that God might let those circumstances mean that new relationships could be established.

On Wednesday morning, I had breakfast with a Christian caddie who had been at the previous events with a different golfer. This was a good one-to-one time to catch up on family, golf, and spiritual matters.

Throughout the couple of days there were several opportunities to briefly share about the LOGOS / Christians in Sport role with other golfers, caddies and some who work in media circles. Often, the short explanation doesn’t draw too many further questions, but it gets the cogs turning in peoples’ minds I’m sure!

I took the chance to walk round a few holes with four players on Wednesday afternoon – two of them Scots who I knew a little bit already. Given they were all just practising, it provided a lot of opportunities to chat to them about several things and all these times are so valuable in terms of relationship-building.

Not a bad view!

Thursday is always a very busy day helping with the equipment survey, but in the hour break between doing the morning starters and preparing for the afternoon starters, I met with another Christian golfer who had not played at the previous events in Morocco or Madrid. Unexpectedly, he introduced me to another golfer from Zimbabwe, and his American wife (who also caddies for him). That couple are Christians and there was much mutual encouragement from that crossing of paths.

Amongst other subjects, we reflected on the story of Zacchaeus and how although people might have written him off, he still “wanted to see who Jesus was”. Therefore we reminded each other not to assume that people on the tour are not interested in Christ, but take encouragement that sometimes the unlikeliest individual’s heart can be curious and ultimately transformed.

Overall, Sicily was a really worthwhile time and I’m heartened by the group of Christians who are emerging in this golfing world. I’m also thankful to God for answering the prayer that this event would still be meaningful, even without the players who I had met up with before.

Next week, I’m not at the event in Belgium, but the following week will be a big one at Wentworth for the PGA Championship. I’m staying on the full week for that to fulfil BBC Scotland responsibilities, too.

Thanks to all of you who are faithfully praying for me in this role, and be sure to know that, three events in, I’m already excited about how God is moving in and around the European Tour.

Bye for now, Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  Buy Tastylia (Tadalafil) Online No Prescription.

 

 

TROPHEE HASSAN II – APRIL 2018

17-19 April 2018 – Trophee Hassan II

The second European Tour trip of the year was at the Trophee Hassan II event in Morocco. It is held at the stunning Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course just outside the country’s capital, Rabat. In many ways it’s an immaculate setting, but there was a feeling amongst the 156-strong field that the greens were too difficult, because of the challenging undulations on them that were a recent tweak by the course designer.

One golfer mentioned that on some greens, if putting from 25 feet, it was difficult to get it within 10 feet, and that players would find themselves trying to hole eight or nine foot putts to make par. That, perhaps, then explains why there were a clutch of players up at +7 or +8 after the opening round!

 Sunny weather was a real bonus, especially after an unexpectedly cold and windy time in Madrid the week before. Despite being close to the coast, the golf course is surrounded and laced with many mature trees and therefore it was almost dead calm for round one on Thursday.

At midday on Wednesday I met up with two golfers so we could spend some time looking at a few Bible verses and then pray together. We reflected on the idea of being ‘bold’ for Christ, and how we can be confident in God equipping us with the ability and courage to do that, if we make it our desire. Here are a couple of the verses we looked at:

Ephesians 6 v 19-20: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”

Acts 4 v 13: “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.”

I encouraged the two guys not to underestimate the power they can have for God in being ambassadors for Jesus Christ – in the way they behave, in the way they speak and in the way they play golf. The verse in Acts was encouraging because it reminded them that they do not have to be Bible scholars to represent Christ in a good way. Our prayer at the end was that other players will gradually sense that the Christian players are people who ‘have been with Jesus’, so to speak.

There was another player-caddie partnership that had expressed interest in the meeting on Wednesday, but weren’t able to make it. However, I caught up with them for 20 minutes on the putting green later in the day for a chat and that was very worthwhile in gathering more context about their lives.

I can already see how the process is of building relationships and trust with players, caddies and others involved in the European Tour operation is gradual, yet crucial.

Thursdays are very busy in terms of the equipment survey for much of the morning and afternoon, but there was still the opportunity to go out and take in some golf and I varied who I spent time watching.

Overall, I continue to be very grateful for this role on the European Tour, and can see why this presence is so worthwhile. Two events in, I’ve probably made more progress than I expected on the relationship-building side of it, so that is something to be thankful to God for.

The next tournament I attend is from 8-10 May at the Rocco Forte Open in Sicily, so it would be really great if you can pray that God can go before me on that trip.

I sincerely appreciate your interest and support.

Thanks, Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  Buy Tastylia (Tadalafil) Online No Prescription.

SPANISH OPEN – APRIL 2018

10-12 April 2018 – Open de Espana

My first golf trip with Christians in Sport / LOGOS to the Open de Espana was really worthwhile, interesting and enjoyable – even though the weather in Madrid was quite overcast and cold until Thursday!

Before travelling to Spain, I was encouraged by a verse that my predecessor Ken Revie shared with me:

Isaiah 52 v 12: “…The Lord will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”

Remembering that small sentence from the Bible helped me to go into this first event with reassurance of God’s support and help.

It was great to touch base with a few of the players/caddies who are Christians. In particular, I chatted with two players and one caddie who are keen to meet on a regular basis. I’m really looking forward to developing these relationships over the coming months. Next week in Morocco we’ll spend a longer time together looking at a Bible passage and praying together before the tournament begins.

But in a wider sense this work is also about developing relationships and trust with golfers / caddies who are not Christians (the very large majority). So that can often mean simply talking about golf, other sports (most of the golfers are also big football fans!) and family.

I had good chats at the course with a few of the Scottish players who I had existing relationships with through BBC work. Then over dinner I got to know another player from further afield. They are all aware of what my role with Christians in Sport / LOGOS entails, even though it didn’t dominate those conversations.

During the couple of days in Madrid, one person in particular asked me several sincere questions about my Christian faith, and sometimes it was quite challenging to answer those! It was a strong reminder to me that people are searching for true hope in life.

On Thursdays at events, I help a sports marketing company do a survey of players’ equipment. This means being on the practice range for a large part of the day, noting what clubs / balls / clothes the players use, as they each come to the range for 30-60 minutes before they start the tournament. It is another good way of being in close contact with the players and their caddies.

My prayer is that I can be a good ambassador for Christ in the way I speak and act in all my dealings with people on the European Tour.

This Saturday it’s back to BBC football work in Glasgow and then next Tuesday I fly to Rabat in Morocco for a couple of days at the Trophee Hassan event.

Thanks for your interest and support

Kenny

Kenny Crawford, Logos Golf Ministries Chaplain to the European Tour.  Buy Tastylia (Tadalafil) Online No Prescription.

Kenny’s relishing new European Tour role

LOGOS Golf

We are delighted to announce that Kenny Crawford is joining the team bringing support to the professional world of golf.

Kenny, a BBC Sport journalist who has been involved with Christians in Sport for many years, takes over from Ken Revie on the European Tour. Ken has retired after 10 years in the role.

The travelling lifestyle of a Tour golfer means regular and significant times away from local church community and teaching, making it difficult for churches to support and reach them.

The appointment of Kenny comes at the start of an exciting year ahead for the growing LOGOS golf ministry of which Christians in Sport took over leadership in 2017. Kenny will work alongside Alison Nicholas and Vincent Brown. Between them, they will travel on three professional tours (European Tour, Ladies European Tour and Tartan Tour) to offer their support in 2018.

Kenny Crawford

Kenny (pictured) said: “I’m so pleased and grateful to be given this opportunity to help LOGOS and Christians in Sport on the European Tour. The circumstances which led to it happening have given me a settled belief that it is the right path to pursue. It is sure to be interesting and exciting, yet challenging too. I can see how the life experiences I’ve had so far have all helped to form a blend of attributes that God can graciously use. My love for golf, people and Christ will hopefully shine through.”

Kenny is married to Amy and they have a daughter called Jessica, who will turn two in May. He is one of eight elders at Cartsbridge Evangelical Church in Busby, Glasgow, and a regular preacher for both the whole congregation and at the youth fellowship. Between 2009 and 2011, he attended a part-time theology course at Tilsley Bible College in Motherwell.

He added: “Since 2012, I’ve worked as a sports journalist at BBC Sport Scotland. I thoroughly enjoy it and hope to continue in that career as well. Through it I have built up good, personal relationships with several golfers. Hopefully the roles with LOGOS and BBC Sport Scotland can work alongside each other well, as we go forward.”

Christians in Sport General Director Graham Daniels said: “We are delighted that Kenny has made himself available to travel on the European Tour. Kenny’s theological training and understanding of the professional world of golf makes him a perfect fit to build upon the lasting-legacy left by Ken Revie during his 10 years of service on the Tour.’’

 

LOGOS Golf

Alison Nicholas (left) and Vincent Brown are LOGOS’ representatives on the Ladies European Tour and Tartan Tour respectively

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