Injury hampers SSP’s chances

Several missed cuts and hardly a performance of notes in 2011 explains why SSP Chowrasia doesn’t quite have the reputation of being someone to watch out when he plays in Europe

Written by Smriti Sinha | Gurgaon | Published:February 16, 2012 1:12 am

Several missed cuts and hardly a performance of notes in 2011 explains why SSP Chowrasia doesn’t quite have the reputation of being someone to watch out when he plays in Europe. But somehow,it all changes when he is playing a co-sanctioned event on home soil — his gait becomes confident,drives long and accurate,and short game almost magical. It’s evident in his exploits as well — he remains the only Indian to win a European event at home. Not once but twice — the Indian Masters in 2008 and the Avantha Masters last year.

But if defending his title looks a tad bit difficult this time,blame it on his wrist. While playing at the DLF Golf and Country Club on Monday,the Calcutta pro felt some pain in his left wrist because of which he left the course midway of his practice round. The next morning he withdrew from the Tuesday pro-am and took a trip to the physio instead. “I had felt similar pain last week (Dubai Classic). I am told it is because of some stiffness in the forearm. Hopefully today’s rest will help,” SSP said.

With Jyoti Randhawa missing the tournament with a thumb injury and Jeev Milkha Singh carrying a flu – and a warning: beware of a sick golfer – Chowrasia’s injury doesn’t bode well for those hoping to see an Indian name on the weekend leaderboard. While there are expectations from the young crop of Gaganjeet Bhullar,Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Rai,they haven’t had the best of starts to the new season.

“I wouldn’t attribute it (missing cuts in both the tournaments he played this year) to anything else but some rustiness.” Rai,who’ll be competing on his home course,said. Among other contenders,Asian Tour veteran Thongchai Jaidee,last week’s Philippine winner Mardan Mamat,in-form Swede Joel Sjoholm,who finished in the top-10 at Dubai Classic rate high.

The course conditions are still likely to help locals more than the Europeans who are used to less grainy greens. “The fairways are really firm,and there are practically no roughs because of the winter the grass hasn’t really grown. The greens are very fast and tricky as well,I feel the European players get more confused about the lines on the greens in these Asian courses,” Chowrasia said.

Who will master the conditions remains to be seen,but one thing is for sure,the limelight will firmly be on,not an Indian,Asian or a European,but an American,as golf’s enfant terrible,the colourful John Daly makes his professional debut in the country.

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