His hitting may have been slightly off last year,but his philosophical mind and indefatigable spirit were on full display as Jeev Milkha Singh announced the commencement of the second year of European Challenge Tours event,here in New Delhi. The Gujarat Kensville Challenge will be held on his signature golf course in Ahmedabad between January 26 and 29.
Just a few weeks after finishing inside the top-10 of the last tournament of the season,Jeev is back to nursing his back and getting fit for the Gulf swing that begins in Abu Dhabi later this month. For the 40-year-old,the coming years are going to be a shadow of 2011 – a tussle between keeping fit and getting the best results in big tournament.
Despite spending a major part of last year and the year before that recovering from his back problems and other fitness related issues,Jeev is not letting the physical aspect bog him down. I have been playing professional golf for over 20 years now. Obviously there will be a lot of wear and tear. At this stage my goal is just to stay fit. My game is in perfect shape and if I just keep up physically,I can play really well. A lot of tournament golf is about mental confidence which comes from hard work and being in your best shape. If I keep telling myself that I have just come off an injury,it will further bring down my confidence during tournaments. Instead,I wake up every morning,do my exercises,hit a lot of golf balls which makes me believe on event days that if I have practiced so much,I can definitely hit a good score, Jeev says.
Jeev is at that stage of his career when he has decided to cut down both on the number of tournaments he will play while also concentrate on only one tour. There was a time I was playing 43 weeks out of 50 but this year I will just keep it to 34-35 weeks and my aim will be to do well on the European Tour, he adds.
Agreeing that he needs to find a way around his injuries,Jeev explained his fitness schedule. Physical trainer Ronadeep Roy who also works with the Indian Golf Union has given me four exercises which I do religiously. I have another 20 days before I hit the circuit to get fit. Sometimes the rough on international courses is really thick and in power hitting you can hurt your back so I am trying to make my back stronger and I am hitting about 50 drives a day, Jeev added.
Not only does Jeev have plans to play international golf for another 5-6 years,but also doesnt want to give up on the game completely,even after retirement. When I cant play,I like to go the course,chat up with the caddies and so on. When I retire from competitive golf,I would like to play the senior tour like Greg Norman and other legends of the game.
More chances to qualify
The organisers of the Kensville Challenge,which was won by Gaganjeet Bhullar last year,have tried to organise something similar to a Monday Qualifier in order to create more opportunities for Indian professionals to qualify. Top 48 players of the PGTI will have a direct entry into the tournament,while the 18-hole qualifying round at Noida Golf Course on Wednesday will see locals vie for three additional spots. Apart from Bhullar,USAs Peter Ulhein,the former world number one amateur, will also be a part of the Euros 200,000 event.