Golfer Kevin Streelman arrives at British Open after last-minute email invite

Taking the course Thursday at Royal Portrush in Northern Ireland for the British Open is Kevin Streelman, who will make his fifth career appearance in the major. It’s a place he didn’t expect to be playing up until a couple weeks ago — and only because he stays on top of his email.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

On July 8, Streelman shot a six-under 66 to win the Rockford (Ill.) Pro-Am. It wasn’t a PGA Tour event, but continued the solid play Streelman has been enjoying this season on tour, as he’s recorded four top-10 finishes in 23 events, ranking 59th on the money list with $1.56 million earned.

And so he received a last-minute invite to the British Open when a spot became available upon John Daly’s withdrawal. And that invite came in an amusingly nonchalant email. “Hello Kevin,” it read. “There as been a withdrawal from The Open. There is now a space for you if you’d like to play?”

“My mind’s everywhere right now,” Streelman told WREX after winning the pro-am and learning of his invite. “My passport is in Scottsdale at my house. I don’t have enough clothes, enough warm clothes, [so] I have to go shopping for them. My caddie is not going to go. I need to find a new caddie. Besides that, it’s pretty exciting. I have a few things to iron out.”

Streelman got those things ironed out in time to appear in his first major of the year, which is the last major of 2019. He last appeared in the British Open in 2015, when he missed the cut. His best finish in the event was a tie for 54th in 2014.

In Thursday’s first round, Streelman shot a 6-over 71.

Regardless of how he plays on the course, Streelman says he tries to shine God’s light. He describes himself as a “Follower of The Way” on Twitter, and told Sports Spectrum in an interview last year, “Jesus means everything to me. … It is my prayer every day to represent Him both on and off the golf course.”

Streelman often does that by remembering 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, which says, “Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks regardless of your circumstances. This is God’s will for you through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

“To me, this gives us a concise, beautiful way to live life. Rejoice in God’s love. Pray and talk with God constantly. Give thanks regardless of our circumstances. It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well, but truly spiritually-mature Christians can be thankful when things are getting tough. This is God’s secret to living a fruitful, joyous, thankful life.”

Q&A with pro golfer Kevin Streelman: ‘Jesus means everything to me’
Pro golfer Kevin Streelman teams with Compassion International to build child development centers in Togo
Bubba Watson reflects on ‘the blessing of winning the Masters’ and joy of adoption