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Milkha adopts chess strategy at Oakmont

India's Jeev Milkha Singh is approaching this week's US Open with the precision and calculation of a chess grandmaster.

india Updated: Jun 15, 2007 15:20 IST

India's Jeev Milkha Singh is approaching this week's US Open with the precision and calculation of a chess grandmaster.

Oakmont Country Club is widely regarded as one of golf's toughest venues and Singh knows patience will be a prized commodity when the tournament starts on Thursday.

"I've heard so much about Oakmont and I've experienced it now in practice," the 35-year-old from Chandigarh told Reuters on Wednesday.

"One of the members came up to me the other day and said: 'Singh, have you ever played chess?' And I said: 'Yes I have'.

"And he said: 'That's the way you play this golf course. You've got to check every move that you make.'

"Basically you've got to know where to hit it here. If you miss it on the wrong side, you just have to take your medicine. These greens are really tough."

Singh, who became the first Indian to compete at the Masters in April, accepts putting will be one of the biggest challenges on Oakmont's slick, sloping greens.

"These greens are possibly even tougher than Augusta," he said, referring to Augusta National, permanent home of the Masters.

Fair Test

"But I also think they provide a fair test. It will all depend on the pin positions this week."

Singh, whose father was a former Olympic record holder and Commonwealth gold medallist in athletics, won four times in 2006 on his way to a career-best campaign.

"Last year was a dream come true," said the Indian, who clinched the China Open and the Volvo Masters in Spain as well as two consecutive titles on the Japanese Tour.

"I hope before my career is over I can repeat that again, but it's tough to do that.

"What helped me last season was that I wasn't result oriented; I was more into process and routines. It's been tough for me to do that this year after playing so well because you then get yourself result oriented again.

"It's a very fine line," added the 2006 Asian Player of the Year. "I have to keep that balance of getting back to process and routine, and then see what happens."