| Winners in the East India junior and sub-junior golf championship (from left) Azash Ali, Amanjyot Singh, Ajeetesh Sandhu and Akshay Butta flank Arjun Atwal at RCGC Friday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta: This is the stretching-of-limbs time for India international golfers. They have shone brighter than expected, had a great time across the continents (Asia and Europe) and have earned handsomely.
Jyoti Randhawa, was followed back home, to Calcutta, by Arjun Atwal. He is here on a plain, simple, no-golf-club holiday. “I am not touching my clubs here,” he told The Telegraph Friday.
He can afford to. Having finished third on the Asian PGA Order of Merit, and pretty decent on the European tour, he has earned this holiday.
“Last year was really tiring,” he said. “I played no less than 40 tournaments. It takes a lot out of you. I am missing the South African Open (which Jyoti is attending), I know, but I’d rather rest. My next outing will be the Singapore Masters, where I’ll be defending the title.”
Atwal was the first Indian to have won this title. It is a sanctioned tournament of the European Tour. From there he will be moving to Malaysia, and “then another two weeks off.”
Atwal is changing his pace this year. “Last year I played almost non-stop. During one particular stretch I played 11 tournaments in a row,” he said. “This time I am going to break after each four-five tournaments.” There were the good spots last year — the 11th finish in the Taiwan Open. And some more pretty good standings.
The European tour has a pick-and-choose option. “You do need to play a minimum of around 15, though,” he said. “Then, if I am within the top 20, I go through to the British Open without the qualifier.” That’s a great lure for any golfer.
“You see, last year was a good learning experience for me on the Tour. Those regular European players all know the courses. While I would go to an even a couple of days earlier and practise and get to know the course, they would come in a day before the Pro-Am, knock about and go into the course directly.”
This year’s toil, will be next year’s experience. However, the dream is the US PGA Tour. “I guess I’ll give it a try next season (the Q-School). That’s the ultimate.”
Atwal, who doesn’t believe in having a coach, gets his punch from his regular gym workouts (including weights) and the long-time yoga practice that he has kept up.
In Calcutta, he will be visiting the so familiar fairways and greens at the Royal and at the Tolly, but he isn’t sure of playing. It’s holiday time.