Rubbing shoulders with the cream of the golfing fraternity is an unlikely option for a pro just off the blocks. But if the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) awards you the Emerging Player of 2011, that too just within a year of turning pro, the spotlight is well-deserved.
And 20-year-old Rashid Khan is enjoying the beginning, which promises bigger laurels.
How did it start? “To be honest, I wasn't interested in anything at all as a kid,” says Rashid, while moving from one tee to the other at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC).
Not only has the sport fattened his wallet, it has played a significant role in changing this just-another-kid-in-town's way of life.
“It's a game of royals, and one has become like that - in the manner you walk, talk and behave,” says Rashid, ranked fourth on the PGTI Order of Merit last year. "And I'm learning each day."
Probably, the urge to win big this early is what may help this youngster in a circuit which boasts of seasoned names.
“He has this hunger to succeed which drives him,” says coach Nonita Lall, who feels 2012 should see him soar to greater heights. “And he's a gritty young player.”
Rashid too is banking on the year to propel his career. “I have a packed schedule with the Asian Tour (qualifying school) coming up,” says the youngster, who dreams of playing on the PGA Tour.
“But I don't want to hurry myself, I'm here to play golf, and I'm not giving it up for anything,” he adds. “Not before I get to meet Tiger Woods.”