When the going’s tough, it’s funny how a tirade from an unexpected quarter can turn things around. SSP Chawrasia broke a jinx late last year by winning on the Asian Tour outside India. In his quest for a European Tour title outside home, another outburst could help.
Wife Simantini is suited best since it was her words that did the trick before the final day of the Hero Indian Open in last March . SSP woke up that Sunday barely able to move the neck. Sharing it helped little as the wife wrote him off immediately. SSP had finished runner-up on four occasions, and given his state, a similar end, or worse, was likely.
Stung by the rebuke, SSP swore to set the record straight. At the range or practice green, the story was the same, every shot was accompanied by unbearable pain. A trip to the physio did release the right shoulder muscles somewhat, the painkiller playing a part too, but it wasn’t enough.
A specialist was consulted at the Delhi Golf Club and he recommended a stronger pain killer with some conditions. As the drug was known to induce sleep, SSP was advised to take it after nine holes. Desperate to match the initial birdie-making spree of Anirban Lahiri, who had pipped him in the playoff a year earlier, SSP consumed the tablet after the tee shot on No 3.
Reminding himself throughout that nothing could come in his way, SSP triumphed, and the monkey was off his back. The pain remained though and it took trip to London, a shot of cortisone and some harsh words to shake him up.
“The doctor said if I came back within a year, it meant I wasn’t following the prescription (training and physiotherapy) to strengthen the upper back,” said SSP.
Eight months have passed and he hasn’t contacted the physician. The regimen has helped though care is taken not to overdo it. After competing almost regularly on the European Tour since 2008, the factors inhibiting him initially (food, cold and communication skills) have gone.
In his new-found avatar, SSP is ready to take on Europe’s best. There is a hint of regret though, and that’s his driving distance --- 265 yards in an age when even Tiger Woods is awed by the younger players shooting well over 300 yards. At 38, little can be done, but armed with a sharp short game, this week of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic could well be his.