His status on the European Tour may have got downgraded, but SSP Chowrasia does not shift uneasily, groping for an excuse. "I lost the card as my game wasn’t good enough," he said looking straight in the eye.
"There is no room for regret and letting it affect you is pointless as it leads to unnecessary pressure," he said, coming away after five holes as heavy showers disrupted the practice round at the DLF Golf & Country Club on Tuesday.
The $2.3 million (Rs 10 crore approx) Avantha Masters is crucial to Chowrasia’s plans as he searches for the elusive victory to upgrade his conditional card on the Tour. A victory this week will not only grant him the wish, it will be a throwback to the win at the Indian Masters in early 2008, which accorded a three-year exemption in Europe. Though significant, Chowrasia is not worrying over the latter bit as the 32-year-old is aware that bounties are bound to follow a "strong finish".
Uppermost on the mind is to put into use the knowhow acquired since he leapfrogged into the big league. "The last three years have been a learning experience and though the results have not been desirable, I’m confident the lessons will come handy in Europe itself. It’s a matter of time," he said, tapping the upturned glass as if to emphasise the point.
The T9 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters (in Spain) late last season was a heartening result and Chowrasia attributed it to sound putting, an aspect which deserted him in the year gone by. Remedial measures are in place — putting the putter to work in-between two shafts while making sure the club maintains a distance from them is a way to ascertain that that hands stay rock steady.
Add to this a month’s rest and practice at his breeding ground — the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, and the diminutive player to ready to go. The plans may have gone awry on Tuesday but the full round on Monday was enough to leave him gushing. "The greens are lightening quick, just like in Europe, and the fairways are in great shape. We can expect a winning score of below 15-under," he said.