The IWC JOURNAL spoke with South-African professional golfer and three-time winner on the European tour, Christiaan Bezuidenhout, about mental strength, how he prepares for a tournament, and how he tries to inspire kids with speech impediments around the world.
The stars seem to be in Christiaan Bezuidenhout’s favour. In 2020, the 27-year-old had what the media called a “golden summer”, after winning the South African Open as well as the Alfred Dunhill Championship. The year before, he won the Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters. Yet with all his success, Christiaan remains modest and humble; never taking anything for granted and understanding that you have to fight for your dreams.
Christiaan playing a bunker shot
Professional golfer Christiaan Bezuidenhout
In the past two years you won the 2020 South African Open, the 2020 Alfred Dunhill Championship and the 2019 Estrella Damm N.A. Andalucia Masters. How has your life changed during this time?
It’s funny how quickly things change when you start winning. Your ranking shoots up, you get invited to play in a lot more tournaments, competing in majors and so forth. All the dreams you’ve had your whole life, suddenly they’re coming at you faster than you ever imagined! It’s been an amazing few years and obviously I’ve learnt a lot of valuable lessons - the good way and also the hard way. That’s how it is in golf.
How do you prepare for a tournament and where do you get your mental strength from?
I think I thrive on routine and structure, so for me, how I go about my preparation for a tournament is very important. I know what works and it’s a case of sticking with that, basically making sure I’m 100 per cent ready to go and always giving myself the best chance to play my best golf. Mental strength…yeah, that’s a good question. I’m very even-tempered by nature; I don’t get too up or too down on myself on the golf course. That’s always been one of the strengths of my game.
I’m very even-tempered by nature; I don’t get too up or too down on myself on the golf course. That’s always been one of the strengths of my game
What qualities and talents does a successful golfer have to have?
My short game is probably my biggest strength, but you know, you’ve got to have a strong all-round game to survive and to thrive out here. It’s a tough environment, but I love it and I enjoy putting-in the work on my game. My dream has always been to play on the PGA TOUR and I’m doing that now.
When and how did you realise that you had exceptional golfing skills?
For as long as I can remember, golf was my game. I wasn’t interested in team sports. You just had to give me a set of clubs and I’d go play 18 holes, 27 holes, hit balls, chip and putt…I was happy in my own little world. That’s what I did with all of my spare time and I never wanted to be anything else but a professional golfer. Getting a place at The Ernie Els & Fancourt Foundation in 2011 was an important stepping-stone for me and that helped put me on a great path.
congratulations ON YOUR RECENT WEDDING! What role has YOUR WIFE Kristen played on your journey?
Thank you. Yes, Kristen is my partner in everything and I don’t think I could have achieved nearly as much as I have without her by my side. Shortly after we got engaged someone showed me this quote: ‘I can conquer the world with one hand, if you hold the other’. That’s how I feel about Kristen. I’m lucky to be able to share my life with her.
Christiaan Bezuidenhout wins South African Open title
Christiaan and his wife Kristen
It’s wonderful that I’ll have the opportunity to inspire and help other kids around the world who are affected by a stutter […] and tell them that you can still achieve your dreams.
Looking back, what were the greatest obstacles that you had to face - both as a child and as a young man?
We all face challenges in life. For me, growing up with a stutter definitely made life very difficult at times. That’s why it’s been so exciting for me to have signed a partnership this year with the Arthur M. Blank Center for Stuttering Education & Research. My own life has been changed by the groundbreaking work that Dr. Courtney Byrd and the team are doing at the Blank Center. It’s wonderful that I’ll have the opportunity to inspire and help other kids around the world who are affected by a stutter; to share my experience with them, to tell them that it truly is okay to stutter and that you can still achieve your dreams. It’s really life-changing work that the Blank Center is doing and I’m honoured to be able to play a part in that.
What advice would you give to 10-year old Christiaan?
I suffered from a lot of anxiety when I was younger, so it would be nice if I could have told myself…don’t worry Christiaan, it’s going to be fine, and that all the hard work is going to pay off in the end.
Let’s talk watches! What is your favourite IWC and why?
I am currently wearing the Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Boutique Edition with the 18ct gold case and blue dial. It’s an absolutely stunning timepiece. I love the proportions and it’s very elegant. I keep looking at it and admiring all the details. I’m a happy boy! Honestly, it’s a privilege for me to be associated with a brand like IWC and I sincerely hope our relationship lasts for many years to come.
Do you see any similarities between playing golf and watchmaking?
Yes, I guess there probably are. Patience and precision apply to both. And you need steady hands to make watches or hole putts under pressure!
Which IWC is next on your list?
Well, for now I’m obviously very happy with my new Portugieser…but I saw an Instagram post not long ago from IWC for the new Big Pilot Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Edition in Ceratanium, with the black dial, case and strap. I love that military-style aesthetic and it contrasts nicely with some of the other IWC watches that I already own. That’s actually one of the many things I admire about IWC, the way they apply beautiful craftsmanship and attention to detail in a wide variety of styles. As someone who’s just starting out on building a watch collection, I find that very appealing.
Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Boutique Edition (Ref. IW344205)
Back of Portugieser Perpetual Calendar 42 Boutique Edition
The Big Pilot's Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Ceratanium (Ref. IW503604)
Back of Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar Top Gun Ceratanium
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