Indian Open golf: Julian Suri eager to make his mark on forefathers’ land
The returns from the 2013 Hero Indian Open were negligible for Julian Suri, as the newly-turned professional missed the cut at the Delhi Golf Club. But the trip to the land of his forefathers got him to know his roots better.
A descendant of M Buchi Babu Naidu, known as the pioneer of cricket in south India, the US-bred Julian could not travel to Chennai, home of the late stalwart, as time was short, but the trip to Bangalore to meet his paternal grandmother gave him enough insight into Buchi Babu’s life.
“I am aware of the broader impact he had on cricket and society through his philanthropic work”, said Julian. Even though it was tennis, and now golf, that drove him, Julian took interest in the story behind the birth of the All-India Buchi Babu Tournament and how the notion was challenged that whites alone could excel in cricket.
When Julian returns for the Indian Open next week at the DLF Golf and Country Club, it would be to prove a point like his illustrious ancestor, and to make a mark in the land where his father, Jagan Suryanarayan, competed successfully with Vijay Amritraj and Ramesh Krishnan before migrating to the United States for a career in golf business development.
Julian’s confidence isn’t misplaced, especially after a phenomenal 2017 season, which saw him zoom from 1137 to 62 in the world. At No 70, Julian is the second-highest ranked player at the Indian Open, and the 26-year-old from St Augustine, Florida, says while success hasn’t changed him, perception around him has. “People are a lot friendlier than they were a year back (now that he’s in the winner’s circle with a breakthrough win on the European Tour last year), but I’ve learnt to make out and look inwards.”
It was the “hunger to be a top player in the world” that made Julian step out of the US, where he learnt his golf, and his comfort zone. “The higher ceiling and more world ranking points on the European Tour (vis-a-vis the Web.com in the US) was an attractive proposition,” he said.
Taking that route via the Challenge Tour (the European Tour’s feeder line), Julian is reaping the benefits. As for living away from home, that’s hardly an issue. “Dad has always maintained it doesn’t matter where I am. As long as I’m playing my best golf, it’s fine.”