Next week, Rashid Khan will shed his tag as the country's No. 1 amateur and will join the ranks of professionals. Had things gone to plan, the 19-year-old would have turned pro next year, but a flurry of activity, triggered by his spearheading India to the team silver at the Asian Games, have forced him to redraw his schedule.
The $1.25 million (Rs 56 crore approx) Hero Honda Indian Open tees off from December 2 at the Delhi Golf Club, Rashid's home course, and the wiry golfer couldn't have asked for a better start to what promises to be another fruitful chapter. "Before leaving for Guangzhou, I hadn't the faintest idea that such a thing lay in store. On my return, I was told that I had been awarded a sponsor's spot, which meant I had to immediately inform the Indian Golf Union (IGU) about the change of status," Rashid told HT on Friday.
The unexpected bonus has triggered off a chain reaction but Rashid doesn't mind the extra legwork he will have to undertake. "But for Pawan Munjal (of Hero Honda Motors), Rishi Narain (he runs a golf management firm) and Satish Aparajit (former IGU secretary-general), this (opportunity) would not have come my way, but the sudden development means I need to get hyper-active," he said.
Rashid has already approached the Professional Golf Tour of India for membership and will be a part of their Qualifying School next month. The eyes are also trained overseas and a call from the Asian Tour is on the cards. "I am keen on their Q-School (in January at Thailand) too, but it depends if I am able to get a direct entry into the final stage of qualifying," he said. Qualification will not only earn him a full card for the new season, Rashid will join the bevy of Indian pros plying their trade successfully on the Asian Tour.
"There are plenty of plans, kuch kar dikhaana hai," he said.