Form has had little bearing on Jyoti Randhawa’s demeanour. The pro-am card tucked in-between the elongated fingers, the frame, straight as a ramrod, headed towards the tournament office. En route, a steely gaze scoured the players' area in search of a familiar face. The scan unsuccessful, he proceeded towards his destination, the gait relaxed yet purposeful.
An unscheduled interruption for a sound byte could not bring him to a halt. Keep walking, he said. A brief exchange followed but the signs were ominous. As one prepared to hear the dreaded ho gaya (are we done?), came the startling words, "When does it appear?"
The guard lowered and the intense eyes wearing a softer look, he began, “The anxiety (to win) is up, but the level of inconsistency has also seen an upswing.”
Attributing it to a tussle between the body and mind, Jyoti said, “The mind keeps telling you it’s got to be done, but at 39, the body doesn’t always cooperate. When younger, it (body) delivered on its own (under pressure). Now, it requires a conscious effort, which doesn’t always come off, given the level of expectation.”
Clawing back after losing his European Tour card last year has been painful. “It took me almost six months to recover. A state of complacency set in. After all, it is a better Tour to play on, given the conditions and facilities,” he said, rubbing the day-old stubble wistfully.
Stumbling, yet firm on striking a balance between the old and new (read, correcting the swing and posture), Jyoti broke a prolonged title-drought in August.
The monetary gains from the Players Championship were negligible but the lessons drawn invaluable. “It made me realise that golf requires continuous adjustment, one cannot rest on past laurels.” New coach, Pritam Saikia, chipped in, “Self-realisation is half the battle won. A day after the win, he was back for training at 7am.”
The tangle he finds himself in will take a while to unravel, but turning out at the Delhi Golf Club simplifies things a lot for the three-time Indian Open champion. Fond memories, “home-course advantage” or experiencing a surge of positive energy at the tee-box, the list goes on.
In-between mouthfuls of chicken roll, the strategy for the week was laid forth. “Playing each hole many times over means I know the clubs to use. The focus will be on staying committed to executing each shot,” he said.