March 14, 2017: SSP Chawrasia scored a blockbuster seven shot victory over the weekend to embellish his legend on the Hero Indian Open trophy. Chawrasia became the only Indian golfer to defend a European Tour title, but what was impressive was the manner of his victory. Anand Datla of Golfing Indian spoke exclusively with Chawrasia after his victory at the DLF Golf & Country Club.
GI: First of all, congratulations on your success last week. Every victory is special, but do you think this was perhaps your best victory?
SSP: Absolutely, winning back to back titles is most satisfying. But it was even more special to win the tournament on a very difficult course. It was a long and narrow course, made even more difficult by the tricky greens that rolled in so many different directions. This is the best victory of my career.
GI: You have played at several courses in Europe and Asia. How would you rate the golf course you played last week?
SSP: It was clearly the toughest course of my career. Not just me, but several other golfers thought the same of this Gary Player course. It had length, the fairways were narrow and flag positions made it a very complex test. I am very happy to have stuck to my plan and play consistent golf.
GI: You have been a professional for twenty years now. Can you speak about the hard work that has earned you these successes over the past two years?
SSP: I have played golf for a long time. At times I started to feel that I was stuck in the same place. I am delighted to finally win titles regularly but it has been a long and hard journey to reach this point.
GI: You are 38 now, nearly 39. What did you change over the last two years to improve your chances on the international stage?
SSP: First, I had to be honest with myself. I was not doing very well, stuck in the same place after such a long time. At the start of 2016, I introspected about my game and myself. We identified certain weaknesses and went to work on them. I also practiced quite a lot to improve my game. We also worked on physical fitness and mental strength.
GI: You have finally blossomed into one of the finest golfers around. But do you think your age is a handicap, considering that you are into your late thirties?
SSP: (Laughs out loud) Not at all. I really believe age is just a number. I am very fit and expect to play well for many more years.
GI: Who are the people supporting your development?
SSP: I have to thank my sponsors TAKE Solutions for believing in me and supporting me. My coach is Sandeep Varma of Delhi, and his inputs are very valuable. We also have a family friend who is helping me adapt meditation into my routine for improving my mental strength.
GI: It also looks like you are shining bright ever since your marriage with Simantini.
SSP: Oh yes, I think I married at just the right time. My wife has been by my side and helps me relax and take my mind off golf at the end of a long hard day’s work.
GI: You have now risen to 160th in the rankings. What are your goals for the next few years?
SSP: I want to build on my success and do well in Europe. I am very keen to win on European soil. I also want to do well in majors. I will play some qualifying events this season to try and make it into the majors. Long term, I also want to break inside the top 100, so that I can get better access to major tournaments.