Ask Vijay Kumar and he’d use up a session explaining how “playing golf has made him understand the futility of human effort”.
It’s been a luckless wait for this 40-year-old “pupil”, that’s what he calls himself, but the man has drawn strength during these trying times from two sources – faith in his craft and modesty.
“I last won a title (at Aamby Valley) in 2005, but after so many years as a student of the sport, the meaning of humility is not lost on me. My game has allowed me to come close on several occasions (a tied third at the Tamil Nadu Open was his best last season), so one needs to persevere and not lose his head,” he said.
Putting this mantra into practice at the Qutab Golf Club, Vijay appeared to have got himself the desired result, graduating from joint leader to the sole occupier of the top spot at the DDA Open. But even as opportunity knocked on the door on Friday, he refused to be swayed. “What’s the need to interview me, there are bigger names in the field, he said in a tenor that did not quite go with his large frame.
Going into the penultimate day with a one-stroke lead might have been unsettling for quite a few, but Vijay was clear in his objective. Unperturbed by the gains made by Pappan, Mukesh Kumar (both five-under for the day) and Ashok Kumar (four-under), the Lucknow pro struck a balance between some good hitting and not-so-good putting to card a three-under for the round, and an overall 11-under 199. But for a bogey on the 18th, the lead over Ashok could have gone up by a stroke, but true to his character, Vijay brushed it aside with a smile. “Doesn’t matter, that’s what the game is about.”