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Enjoying India

It was fast turning into a wild goose chase. All those who were approached swore to have spotted Mark Brown but none had a clue about his whereabouts, reports Robin Bose.

other Updated: Oct 07, 2008 22:11 IST
Robin Bose

It was fast turning into a wild goose chase. All those who were approached swore to have spotted Mark Brown but none had a clue about his whereabouts. After scouring the front nine, practice ranges and the players' area for a while, the idea of zeroing in on the man in a golf cart dawned.

Starting from the back nine meant not only was one exposed to miscued hits, the intrusion invited long and hard looks from the incoming players.

It seemed like another fruitless exercise when a fox suddenly darted across the undulating pathway in search of prey. Being informed that spotting the animal at the Delhi Golf Club was uncommon did little to suppress the frustration.

Alighting from the cart, the eyes settled on the elusive Brown as he made his way out of the players' area. Told of the pursuit, the affable Kiwi said with a sheepish grin, "Sorry mate."

Settling down in an isolated spot, the Asian Tour's Order of Merit leader opened up on several issues including his affinity for India and his chances in the Hero Honda Indian Open. Excerpts:

What is it in India that makes you click?

On the golfing part, the weather and courses seem to suit me while outside it, I enjoy being with the genuine and friendly people who have an overwhelming effect.

Apart from the celebrations post SAIL Open and Johnnie Walker Classic triumphs (in February-March), India has grown on me because in the four visits I've believed in stepping out of the hotels and exploring places. Last night was one such instance. I took a (auto) rickshaw and experienced Connaught Place. It was busy and crazy.

How have you coped with success?

I have not changed but perceptions have. Players and officials give me more respect. On the flipside, schedules have become tighter. I've managed just a brief visit to home after the Johnnie Walker Classic, but I hope to spend more time during Christmas.

What kept you going during the troubled years? (Realising his game was taking him nowhere, Brown took a break between 2003-06 and turned to coaching juniors in Wellington)

I kept doing normal things, something I'd failed to do during my first stint as a pro. I bought a house with my fiancé, painted it and did up the interiors. Quite a bit of sightseeing happened and time was spent catching up on cricket and rugby.

My father's belief in me was a huge boost. It's a pity he passed away before he could savour my success.

How did the course play today?

I will be playing tomorrow but what I gathered from people, the greens are soft, the ball's not rolling much and the course is playing a little longer because of the recent rain.

After Johnnie Walker, there's been a title drought (best efforts have been two tied fifths). How do you explain the slip?

It's been a struggle. My short game has been patchy and that explains the inconsistency. As I commence my third innings at the DGC, the focus will be on staying clear of the bushes and being good with the tee shots.