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Pulled down by great expectations

other Updated: Feb 09, 2010 23:14 IST
Robin Bose
Robin Bose
Hindustan Times
Chinnaswamy Muniyappa

Life outside the golf course has stayed unaltered for Chinnaswamy Muniyappa. The Indian Open champion calls a rented accommodation home and is waiting for real estate prices to come down before embarking on the exercise of purchasing a flat.

On the fairways though, change has crept in, and the outcome has left the 33-year-old’s forehead creased.

The resolve, which saw him outsmart Korean Lee Sung in the play-off for the national Open, has developed cracks,

so much so that even after setting foot at the DLF Golf & Country Club, the venue of his maiden Asian Tour title in October, the gloom refused to lift.

The state of mind in sync with the overcast conditions, the Bangalorean teed off from the 10th, but by the time he was done with the practice round of the Avantha Masters, the sun had broken through and had brought with it a fresh line of thinking.

“Following the Indian Open, expectation levels are up and this has made me strive harder. It’s been counter-productive and the results are testimony (see stats box),” said Muniyappa.

Like any other day, Tuesday was meant to be spent trying to strike a balance between hope and performance, but it turned out to be otherwise.

“On the course, realization dawned that I was being foolish in trying to pressurize myself. The strength lies in playing my natural game and that’s what I’m going to do now,” he proclaimed. The relief on the heavily tanned face was unmistakable.

Armed with the awareness, the Asian Tour’s Rookie of the Year, who finished 10th on the Order of Merit in 2009, now plans to take things forward by enlisting for yoga lessons. “It helps,” he said.

“Soon after being operated upon for appendicitis in 2007, I had enlisted for an Art of Living course and there was a marked improvement in my ability to stay calm and concentrate.

This time, I plan to stick to it (yoga),” he said.

After the round, it was natural to compare the course conditions.

“During the Indian Open, the greens were quicker but the fairways were harder. This time, the greens are grainy but the fairways are softer and the rough is down. I don’t expect the course to play tough and the winning score could go as high as 18-under.”

There has been a buzz about the lack of quality players from Europe in the latest event to be added to the European Tour, and asked to react, the simpleton in Muniyappa replied, “I don’t recognize too many players on the Tour.”

The focus was now firmly on the self. “How does the field matter? If you don’t perform even in a small event, you’ll be out. Why bother?”