Unmindful of being watched by the wiry figure from amidst the trees near the 10th tee of the DLF Golf & Country Club, Jyoti Randhawa went about practicing his craft with dexterity, displaying few signs of a man struggling for form. After ensuring the tee shot measured up to expectation, Jyoti moved on while the man tailing him made his way towards the cart path. Choosing a club from his limited collection, the young caddy shadow practiced in a bid to emulate his idol.
Aware of the golfer’s lean patch, the lad spoke up: “Form is not constant, but class cannot be suppressed for long. Jyoti sir has already shown signs of returning to form,” the caddy said about the T32 finish at the recent Omega European Masters.
The anxiety of retaining his European Tour card sitting heavy on the shoulders, a good day at work left Jyoti visibly pleased. Striving for a hattrick of titles at the DLF Masters, the world number 194 is clearly utilising this outing on his home course as a preparation for sterner assignments abroad like the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship and Madrid Masters next month. But the 37-year-old refused to be swayed by his perfect record in the Rs 80 lakh event, which also boasts of a team championship that’ll be played by pros and amateurs over the weekend. “Every time you tee up, you have to prove yourself, especially in a field that has names like Shiv Kapur and Gaganjeet Bhullar,” Jyoti said.
Shiv shares Jyoti’s concern of keeping the playing rights in Europe intact and like the senior pro, is looking for a sustained good run. Pointing to Gaganjeet Bhullar, who has won his last four starts on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), Shiv remarked in his trademark wit: “Amidst all this talk, I am an outsider but hopefully, I’ll be able to sneak one in.”
The 27-year-old recorded his best finish in a while with a joint sixth in the Johnnie Walker Championships at Gleneagles last month and he expressed relief on one front. “I am tired of being asked when I’d turn the corner. Hopefully, that’ll happen here, especially after the result in Scotland,” he smiled.
Buoyed by the exceptional run on the Asian Tour, Bhullar appeared overtly keen to preserve his Midas touch on the PGTI.
Towards this, the focus was on the course. “Despite the rains, the course is in fine shape and the rough isn’t up unlike last year. All in all, it promises to be an exciting contest,” said the 21-year-old.