Adversity is known to have strange effects.
Standing near the putting green of the Delhi Golf Club in early 2008, Arjun Atwal was in a surprisingly militant mood. The form had dipped and he was waging a grim battle to retain his card on the second-tier Nationwide Tour in the US.
Quizzed about his chances in the Indian Masters, the event for which he had crossed the seas, Atwal left the small audience gaping. “Only a win will satisfy.” Obviously, a wrong chord had been struck. “Have you analysed the reasons for the slip,” the interviewer persisted. The golfer lashed out again. “Yes, I have and the reasons are personal.”
It was as if keeping the angst within was Atwal’s way of achieving the means. The method did yield results but moving on, the picture stayed grim.
In February 2010, things were no better. They had got worse. The strapping player had missed a significant chunk of the previous season on the PGA Tour due to a debilitating shoulder injury and the road ahead was pockmarked with doubt.
Eventually, ranking low on the money earners’ list cost him the Tour card for the next season four weeks ago before the fairytale win at the Wyndham Championship came along.
Like the demeanour at the Sedgefield Country Club, Greensboro, on Sunday, which saw him talk about “how he had nothing to lose”, the conduct on that chilly February afternoon at the DLF Golf and Country Club too was a climb-down.
The scars of the injury were apparent as the 6’1’’ frame kept stretching in a bid to loosen the shoulder, but even more marked was the softness of the tone as Atwal spoke of how “he was at peace”.
During the journey through hope and despair, a couple of factors stayed static. The unflinching support of the family, encouraging “texts” from buddy, Tiger Woods --- “We never talk, he’s busy I guess,” says Atwal --- and the healing powers of Dr Jatin Chaudhry.
The Delhi-based practitioner of alternative medicine touched Atwal’s life in March 2009 when the Kolkatan had suffered Grade III rotator cuff tears in both shoulders. Surgery seemed the only way out and Woods had scoffed when Atwal said, “he was about to venture into the unknown”. Blending physiotherapy, needle and magnetic therapy, the medic ensured quick relief and scans at the end of the three-week session gave an all-clear result.
“Arjun’s trainer (in the US) takes care of his body conditioning but when it comes to strengthening the shoulders, he stills follows my regimen,” Chaudhry told HT. The routine is three-pronged --- gym work, mild theraband (a flexible rope-like contraption) workout and shoulder mobilisation, which involves free-hand exercises.
Since they met, Atwal and Chaudhry have been in regular touch, but on that eventful day of August 22, the two failed to exchange notes. “He called me twice but I failed to notice as I was seeing patients,” said Chaudhry.
Tuesday evening will be “payback time” when Chaudhry returns the call.