Compared to 2011, when he announced his arrival on the Asian Tour with the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic title, the season that went by saw Himmat Rai keep a low profile. “A quiet year?” The gaze steely, he replied, “It was a bad year.”
Unwavering, the tone hadn’t an iota of emotion. Figures show a slip in his Order of Merit standing in Asia, from 16th in 2011 to 46th last season, but keeping a keen eye on the “percentage of fairways and greens hit”, Himmat is ready to wait. “It’s all about time; when the next win will come.”
Setting aside sentiment from his game is a trait he’s worked on from his days as a junior. The attempt gathered momentum after he turned professional in 2007. Not only is it about observing the “progression graph” sans bias, Himmat feels a jaundiced view severely eats into “quality family time”.
A loner on the golf course, the 25-year-old has solid family support to fall back on. High or low, it is the consistent outlook at home towards his craft that helps Himmat stay steadfast. By leaving his troubles on the greens is his way of acknowledging the kindly act.
It was the short game that got most of his attention in the off-season, but also on the agenda was playing out numerous rounds in an attempt to score low. Standing on the practice greens of the Kensville Golf and Country Club, Himmat can vouch that the lessons learnt would stand him in good stead in this week’s Gujarat Kensville Challenge.
Fretting over aspects like not figuring in Wednesday’s pro-am is not for him. “The list drew from the top-10 on the merit list (of the Professional Golf Tour of India), I didn’t figure in it (by virtue of playing very little at home), so what people think doesn’t matter,” said Himmat.
Rather, he’d dwell on featuring in the curtain raiser to the $5 million Alfred Dunhill Links Championship (on the European Tour) in September.
His parents too would be present to watch the son tee off at St Andrews. But will their walking the Old Course and in other marquee events distract?
“No,” came the firm answer. “On the course, it’s me, the ball and that particular hole.”