These are heady times for Aditi Ashok. To be described as a pioneer at such a young age would be difficult to come to grips with, and could also lead to loss of focus. But the 18-year-old golfer from Bangalore is confident her values will prevent her from taking the wrong turn.
A phenomenal rookie season saw her zoom the Rolex rankings (women’s world golf rankings) to 99th, as of Monday, and while the world’s gushing over Indian golf’s wonder girl, those in the know see it as one of the early milestones of a journey that was triggered by curiosity.
Many years ago, Aditi, yet to touch double figures, had accompanied her parents, Mash and Ashok, for breakfast on a Sunday. The nearby driving range and the sound of the ball striking the sweet spot of the driver evoked interest. Golf came to stay in their lives, and despite the toil and tears, has been a source of joy.
From the parents sacrificing their careers, to the hours put in practice, nothing is forgotten by the trio. Turning pro in January last year, no one, not even the family, would have envisioned what lay in store. The rookie season is all about taking baby steps, learning all the way.
All that changed with the Rio Olympics in August. Out of nowhere, Aditi emerged to contend, and even after the falter, the world has not stopped talking about her.
Aditi arrived for her national Open in November with four consecutive top-10 finishes on the Ladies European Tour (LET), and the title at the DLF Golf and Country Club and Doha the subsequent week buttressed what she believed right through her rookie season. Finishing No 2 on the LET’s order of merit, or securing a conditional card on the Ladies Professional Golf Association, “it was about playing solid through the week,” she said.
That’s a simple breakdown of a sport termed complex. But that’s Aditi, deriving pleasure from simple joys, like her love for lucky charms. After all, she’s hasn’t forgotten the route till here.