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HindustanTimes Thu,24 Apr 2014

Other Sport

New role, new challenges for Randhawa
Robin Bose, Hindustan Times
Bangalore, October 17, 2012
First Published: 23:44 IST(17/10/2012)
Last Updated: 23:45 IST(17/10/2012)

Torn between golf and a yearning for the simple joys of family life, Jyoti Randhawa is in a quandary. Eight Asian Tour titles later, the fire still burns, but turning out week-after-week means missing out on pleasures like watching Zorawar rush forward to meet his father as he glides down after a successful sky-jump.

“Golf pulls me away (from the family) and I don’t like it,” he said and the voice trailed off. The roar of the MIG-21s from the nearby base had silenced him. Once they were out of earshot, he continued, “In the younger days, winning was the only thing on mind. Now, it (mind) tells you to rush home after a round.”

Listening to it, Jyoti has turned out for just eight weeks on the Asian Tour, and two at home this year. He has had more than his fill of watching Zorawar take baby steps into multiple sports. “Golf, polo, shooting or sky-diving, he follows me everywhere,” he said proudly.

But slipping into the role is not easy. “Whatever I do, I have to be good at it.” Fitter than before, he can’t remember putting in so many hours at the range — often texting coach Pritam Saikia to turn out at 3.30am!

The problem lies in his swing
The transition from the old to new complete, it is about sticking to the changes under pressure. Blame it on muscle memory, but the tendency of going back to the old swing, when things aren’t going his way, still lurks. It happened at the BILT Open, but the 40-year-old is hoping he’ll have a different tale to narrate after the Hero Indian Open.

The big ticket
This week’s outing will be his second big-money event on the trot, and Jyoti, a three-time winner of the National Open, hopes the occasion will spur him on. That the venue has shifted from the Delhi Golf Club, where he won in 2006 and the year after, to the Karnataka Golf Association is of little consequence.

The effects of losing his playing rights on the European Tour in 2010 are still visible. Between 2011 and the season so far, Jyoti has landed three titles at home, but playing away from the big stage has in a way affected his ability to appreciate those victories. “The value is down to 50 per cent.”

He remembers beating Gaganjeet Bhullar at last year’s CG Open.

“It is as good as winning abroad as these guys are the ones in form.” But the feeling does not stay for long. “I need to carry it with me and that will come with more appearances on the course.”

He’s working on it, spurred by the responsibility of being Zorawar’s role model and his coach’s mantra --- “it’s better to commit and fail than not commit at all”.


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