Till some time back, C Muniyappa was at peace. Currently 12th on the Professional Golf Tour of India’s order of merit, the season had started on the right note. With the second half of the calendar set to unravel with this week’s Take Solutions Classic, things looked good for the 2009 Indian Open champion.
Ten days ago, the nagging lower back injury flared up again, and he almost didn’t tee off this week at the Noida golf course. Fearful, he gave up golf for seven days, and despite enjoying a two-shot lead on the opening day here on Wednesday at five-under 67, the mental scars of the brief but bruising brush with pain were visible.
The 39-year-old was in peak form when injury hit him in 2010, and since then the journey back to the golf course has been riddled with difficulties.
When he felt the twitch this time, he went to the doctor, as has become a routine, for a session of “spine alignment”. Lying on the table, the back encompassed by a machine, the mind wandered off to what could have been had he been a little more attentive.
Roommates with Anirban Lahiri for two years on tour, Muniyappa had been advised to follow the “routine” if he aspired to reach the next level. He had the game to graduate to higher tours, but call it lack of awareness or casualness then in 2009-10, Muniyappa did not pay heed.
When the pain returned last month after a gap of seven months, rumination started all over again. “Life could have been different had I taken note then,” he said ruefully.
That said, lessons have been learnt. Armed with a new driver, which allowed an extra five yards on Wednesday, Muniyappa is seeking fresh direction to his career as well. “I’ve experienced rock bottom and all that it brings with it. From here, the only way out is upwards,” he said.
67: C Muniyappa; 69: Sachin Baisoya; Sudhir Sharma; 70: Vishal Singh; Gaurav Ghei; Sujjan Singh; Shamim Khan; Feroz Singh Garewal; 71: Gaurav Pratap Singh; Aman Raj; Samarth Dwivedi; Rashid Khan; Digvijay Singh; Shubhankar Sharma