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Wisconsin shooting: Atwal to raise awareness

other Updated: Aug 16, 2012 11:03 IST

PTI
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Saddened by the shooting inside a Gurudwara in the United States a couple of weeks ago, Indian golfer Arjun Atwal is planning to raise awareness about Sikhs by distributing saffron ribbons during next week's Wyndham Championships -- a tournament he won two years ago.

Atwal said he is deeply affected by the shooting at a Gurudwara in Wisconsin two weeks ago on August 5 when a gunman killed six people and injured four others. The gunman then shot himself in the head.

"I was in an airport with my wife. We were transiting to somewhere and I saw CNN, and I just had to sit down. I almost missed my connecting flight. It was really sad to see," Atwal said.

"I couldn't figure out exactly why it happened at that time, but then when I got back home, I still don't know why it happened, I mean, how do you explain what happened there? It's just some crazy guy just going nuts. It was just sad to see.

"I talked to my dad about it, as well, and I was like, I want to do something about it, and I didn't know exactly what to do, so I figured this would be a decent way," he added.

Atwal said his plan is a small initiative to heal the wounds.

"I didn't know exactly what to do because I've never been in a position to do anything about these things. I know it's not going to take their pain away, but whatever we could do, and then obviously to raise a little bit of awareness about the Sikhs in America," he said.

"I've heard since 9/11 there's been a few killings of Sikhs around the country, and I just thought it was the wrong thing. So my wife and I decided that we should do something so that people might just look up and say, okay, well, you should learn a little bit more about the religion and who these people are," he added.

The Sikh Council on Religion and Education and the World Sikh Organisation, two Sikh bodies in the United States are trying to raise donations for the victims and also the policeman who was injured in the tragedy and who is alive despite being shot nine times.

"If my grandma was alive, she'd be devastated, because she wouldn't understand any of this, because she was very, very religious. My dad is pretty much the same way. He was kind of upset about it, too. Yeah, we talked quite a bit about it," he said.

Atwal needs a very good finish to get into the FedEx Cup for which only the top-125 qualify. Atwal is right now 169th.

"I need to win. No, obviously I haven't played well this year, but I've found a little something in my game the last couple weeks, and I just need to go with that and maybe get the short game a little bit sharper, and I should be good this week," he said.

On the course that has changed since the time he won, Atwal said, "Looking at the practice green, seeing how smooth and how firm they're going to be on the golf course, I think this is what (designer) Donald Ross had originally intended.

"(Now) On these greens, you can't get up-and-down, like I did when I won. It was an easy chip for me because it was soft. You could hold the green or whatever. But now it's going to be exactly the way he intended it to play, so it's going to be much tougher."