'New crop has to improve'

Jyoti Randhawa feels the younger generation of Indian golfers needs to work harder to make a mark.

Hungry again: Jyoti Randhawa says after a tough period, he is ready to move forward in his career.

Jyoti Randhawa is one of the early torchbearers of Indian golf, part of the famous triplet — Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal being the other two — to have played a huge role in opening the gates of opportunity for a generation of Indian golfers.

However, much like his illustrious friends, he has seen his aura wane a bit due to patchy form that saw him go without a title for nearly three seasons. After having ended his title drought with a morale-boosting victory in the PGTI Players Championship in Haryana last August, Randhawa felt he has rediscovered the old fire.

In a chat, the versatile Randhawa, who turned pro 18 years ago and has played in most parts of Asia and Europe, talks about his goals, his love for adventure sports, shooting and his actress wife Chitrangada Singh.

Excerpts…

In the last couple of years, we haven’t seen see you play much competitive golf. Why?

Yes, I decided to play less events in the last couple of years. Firstly, I felt completely burned out with years of travelling and I decided to slow down a bit. Secondly, age plays a huge role. As you grow older, you just can’t keep playing week in and week out. I just can’t play a tournament without adequate preparation; I need to go there with a feeling that I can win it. Moreover, I’m at that stage where I can’t push my body like I used to, say 10 years back. I need to pace myself. Now I know what I need to do and having got some much-needed rest, I am raring to go.

Has your love for adventure sports overtaken golf?

Not really, I do that when I am off from golf. The sad part is that I got hurt while doing that and I was put off by two months. I love adventure sports and I can’t stay from that.

Apart from being a golfer and adventure freak, you are also a talented shooter. With India doing really well in that sport now, do you see it as another career option?

I really don’t know. I plan to compete in in the next National Championships. Let’s see how it goes. However, golf is my first priority, and if I happen to do well in shooting too, probably it could be my second career option! When I hang up my golfing boots, shooting could come to my rescue as I have to just lie down and fire. It does not consume as much energy as golf.

You haven’t been enjoying the best of form in the last few years...

I started playing well towards the end of the year. I’m getting back to where I want to be, probably should regain my rhythm as the season wears on. I’ve worked on my swing, and I am hitting the ball well. It’s just that I need to convert them into good scores on the course. I think the main reason behind the bad patch is I played very little golf. When I played in the season-ending event Mumbai where I won, I had played for six weeks on the trot and it helped me regain my form.

How many events will you be playing this year?

I would be playing 25-30 tournaments this year. The focus will be Asian Tour and by the end of the season I will get a reality check on where I stand. The main reason is I don’t have a full card in Europe now, so co-sanctioned events is definitely a target.

With a growing kid and an equally busy wife, how do you manage to spend time with the family?

Managing family is really a tough one. Whatever little time we get, we try to devote to each other. I do spend some time with my son but not as much as I want to.

Whenever I am travelling, my wife takes care of him and there are times when I’ve skipped a few tournaments to help her out.

Sportspersons have made movie appearances. Considering your wife is part of Bollywood, do we see versatile Jyoti giving acting also a try?

No, no, no. I don’t think it’s my cup of tea. I really don’t have any inclination towards it. I think one is enough in the family.

Golf would be making its debut at the Olympics in 2016. Have you set that as a goal?

I’ve actually not set any such targets. Obviously, I’m going to be playing for the next five years and I really don’t know where I might be. Putting yourself where you want to be and what you want to be just adds pressure on you. If I do my best, I’ll be good enough to be anywhere.

In the last five years, Indian youngsters have done well on the Asian Tour. What do you think about their potential?

They are pretty good and are playing really good golf. I only wish that they could have done it a little quicker. Time is running out, probably they might not think so.

Most freshers on the Europen Tour are in the 20-23 years age group bracket. Some of them have won tournaments also. I personally think, guys here don’t quite measure up to their standards and they need to pull up their socks. They are okay, but need to get better.

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