'A stepping stone for amateurs'

Golf : Asia-Pacific captain Taizo Kawata on Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy

'A stepping stone for amateurs'

MENTOR:  Asia-Pacific captain Taizo Kawata. DH PHOTO

Two years later at Rome, Kawata was again at the helm when his team produced a spirited comeback to edge the Europeans 16.5-15.5 to retain the title that is modelled on the Ryder Cup and considered a prestigious amateur event. While the Asian challenge fell flat in the next two editions, Kawata believes the event is a good stepping stone for amateurs.

“First of all we regret that the event has been reduced to an exhibition event due to volcanic ash that prevented eight Europeans from reaching India. All the boys were charged up and eager to make something out of the event. Not many have a chance to play in an event of this magnitude that allows you to measure up against quality talent,” said Kawata.
Explaining the selection process, Kawata said it is the toughest part of his job. “I sent a letter to all players, most of whom I hadn't met, for a meeting from January 8-10 this year.
Some of them are studying in the US on scholarship and getting the dates arranged is huge task. After selecting the squad we met 2-3 days before the start of the tournament.”

Visiting the Karnataka Golf Association -- the hosts of the tournament -- for the first time, Kawata felt the course could be extremely punishing for a player on a bad day. “The course is nicely designed and is in the heart of the city. You don’t need to drive 300-400 yards but good pin positioning and short game is essential. The Bermuda greens can give a hard time.
It is easy to play if you are doing well but extremely hard when you are struggling.” Kawata also had words of praise for Rashid Khan, the lone Indian in the Asia-Pacific squad.

“I saw him twice at a tournament in Mission Hills. I liked him from then. He is good at his short game. Due to his thin frame, he generally tends to go from right to left but has enough talent to play in the big tournaments.”

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