“I have no idea why I chose golf as a profession, but all I can say is that golf is a very contagious sport,” chuckled Stuart Krog, the 2013 male junior golfer of the year as he sat down at one of Royal Harare’s driving range wooden benches for an interview with sister paper StandardSport.
Chances are that his father, Ian Krog, formerly a professional caddy, and mother Tracy, must have connived to create a golf dynasty with their two sons, Brett and Stuart when they “stealthily” introduced them to the game.
At 18, Stuart is already a household name in local golf, having hoisted the country’s flag countless times this year alone, grossing some praiseworthy individual performances in the process.
While his brother Brett has gone ahead of him, as he is on a golf scholarship in America, Stuart does not remember making a conscious decision to pursue a golf career.
Only a couple of weeks before he leads the four-member Zimbabwe junior national team at the Toyota Junior Golf World Cup scheduled for Chukyo Golf Club’s Ishino Course, Japan, later this month, Krog is dreaming of playing the PGA tour and winning PGA Majors.
“Our father introduced me to golf seven years ago on a social level then I started taking it serious five years ago especially because my brother Brett started taking it seriously and the stage was set for me.
“My goal is simple. I want to play on the Professional Golf Association tour in the near future. I want to win the Majors, and I want to win the Masters, win the US Open, win the British Open, and win the PGA Championship.
“From my experience so far, I definitely think with hard work and dedication it is an attainable goal,” he said.
Nick Price remains the only Zimbabwean golfer to have won three major championships in his career; the PGA Championship twice (in 1992 and 1994) and The Open Championship in 1994.
In Krog, Zimbabwe has uncovered a gem that has potential to retrace and even surpass Nick Price’s footprints.
Internationally, the former St Joseph’s College student has demonstrated great ability when pitted against top golfers from other countries.
Recently, he won a bronze medal at the All-Africa Youth Games in Botswana, barely a month after helping Zimbabwe qualify for the World Golf Championship at the All-Africa Golf Challenge in Zambia, finishing second on the final cumulative individual leaderboard.
“I have played very well against South African golfers lately. I enjoy playing them because it’s always a big challenge. I have done pretty average in America and I am now looking to do well in the United States tournaments next year to improve my world ranking and probably get into college in August,” Krog said.
Krog is a staunch admirer of two international golfers; Brendan de Jongé and the charismatic Frenchman Victor Dubuisson — for his positive and aggressive golf.
Feted local golf coach Rodger Baylis helped him sharpen the fundamental golf skills before Terry Cairns, father to professional golfer Ryan Cairns, carried on the work to produce the best male junior golfer in the land.
On the country’s chances at the Toyota World Junior Golf Championships pencilled for June 24th to 27 in Japan, Krog said: “Personally I want to win it. Our best performance in this tournament is seventh, but anything in top five is a great achievement.
“There is obviously going to be some nerves at the beginning. But we have the quality to do well.”
The event provides the young golfer the opportunity to make a statement to the rest of the world should he continue with sterling individual performances he has so far exhibited.
Zimbabwe’s golf future looks bright as there are a lot of players on golf scholarship in the United States. A future PGA Major Championship golf winner is lurking somewhere.