Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Krantz could be on to something

Sizzling start to 2014 season positive step in golfer's quest to profit from playing

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The throw-in-the-lake theatrics or the punishment of the car tires in the driveway never really entered the story of Jordan Krantz turning his back, temporarily, on a golf career in 2011.

It was the re-evaluation of life and his game that's been a turning point in his quest to do something exceptionally difficult in the world of sport -- making a living out of playing the game.

The quest is in a good spot at the moment. Last Friday's charging victory at the PGA Tour Canada's qualifying school in Florida, shooting a final-round 66 and being the only player under par for the week, opens a world of opportunity for 2014.

And in late January in the Los Angeles area, Krantz scooped up one of 10 cards available for the OneAsia Tour, a rich spring circuit with purses at US$1-million minimum.

The Vermilion Bay, Ont., native is now 33, so taking stock once he hit 30 was normal.

"I wouldn't say I was low but I got to a place that I stopped playing for seven months," he said from his Phoenix-area home on Thursday. "And I started working, got hired as a first assistant, to give me some time to evaluate everything."

The first of his two children had arrived earlier in the year, but his good connections at Quinterro Golf Club in Scottsdale gave him a landing spot to sort it out.

"I didn't have enough sponsorship to play where and when I wanted to, to get to the next level," he said. "And you need great financial backing like any successful business and I just didn't have it established.

"I was OK with the fact it might just not be feasible to go forward. I had great experiences all over the world for five years, but to go forward I needed to be able to go all out.

"It was a great reset. I honestly thought I'd go back to school to get my masters, but I wanted to give myself enough time to really figure out what I wanted. The drive didn't go anywhere but the means did."

During his non-playing time he connected with supportive folks who helped provide some means for a restart. In 2013, the lefty's scoring edge was back and the good signs and optimism grew.

He put up a scoring average of 68.3 over the summer on mini-tours, state opens and the like and charged into fall qualifying schools in Europe, where he missed by two shots, and the Web.com Tour, where he advanced through the first stage and fell just short at the second stage.

In the constant consultation with his longtime coach and friend Derek Ingram, whose day job is now the head coach of Canada's national men's amateur team, and also aided by the progress he feels with his new golf posse in teacher Chris Fry in Phoenix and Dr. Adrienne Leslie-Toogood, a sports psychologist at the Canadian Sports Centre Manitoba in Winnipeg, Krantz decided to put his foot down for some tangible progress this year.

"It doesn't matter how good a year you have unless you gain status," he said.

Ingram said Thursday he wasn't surprised in the least in Krantz's membership on two tours for the coming year.

"He asked himself, 'Am I going to give this a real go or not?' Ingram said. "I always think it's important for people to be realistic, to be fair to his family and he's still young if he decides golf isn't for him.

"He's got a lot of really good and bad experience but it's just that, it's experience. He's really matured. He does what works for him. He's not out chasing the holy grail. On top of that, he is probably the most coachable person I've ever worked with, best student I've ever worked with."

One of Ingram's abilities is to see and cut through fluff. And he has long been sold on Krantz's ability to give this all a shot for one reason.

"I'm a big numbers guy," Ingram said. "They don't lie. They're a great indication if this person's going to be able to play the game for a living.

"He's got the ability to shoot low and still do his own thing. Anybody can shoot 72, 73, 74 these days."

tim.campbell@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 25, 2014 C6

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