For Jeev, success starts with the mind

  • Robin Bose, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Aug 03, 2016 14:13 IST
Jeev Milkha Singh believes that athletes, in their quest for top physical fitness, very often forget to exercise their mind. (AFP)

Reminded that his only two top-10s this season have come in Thailand, Jeev Milkha Singh laughed. “Since that’s the case, we should have all tournaments there,” he quipped.

Jeev has had to wait for realisation to dawn. After the T7 at the True Thailand Classic in March, the T10 at the King’s Cup on Sunday buttressed the point laid forth by generations --- it’s the mind that decides where one stands on the leaderboard at the end of the week.

“Like the body requires food every day, the mind needs a daily supply of positive nourishment. It’s the most important part of the body but it’s often forgotten and not even 15 minutes are devoted to it,” he said.

It was apt that the thought came during the Scottish Open, where he won in 2012. Four-under after 11 holes on the opening day at Inverness, Jeev struggled to make even-par. The slide had started as the following day he had a 75 against his name and missed cut.

There’s nothing wrong with the game, he is confident of; it’s the inability to take “faith and confidence with him to the course”. He has spoken to experts on this, but knows the implementation rests on him. “A coach can teach you to drive a car, but it’s you who has to get it on the road.”

The surest way to battle the demons in the mind is to reflect on the “processes” that got him success in 2006, when he won twice on the European Tour, and put them to practice.

It isn’t a month since the Scottish Open and the signs are encouraging. Laid low by viral infection the week before the King’s Cup, Jeev almost did not make it to Pattaya. After coaxing (the mind) and popping multi-vitamins he teed off and the result made the effort sweeter. “It’s a sign the mind has started to comply,” he said.

Resting on past laurels is not for him as the innate stubbornness to get back on track drives him, as otherwise the results can be fearful. “Thoughts (of poor finishes) keep coming back to haunt,” he says ruefully.

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