SSP senses European success after Indian glory

16/03/2011 17:06:50
SSP Chowrasia celebrates at the Avantha Masters  (Getty Images)
SSP Chowrasia celebrates at the Avantha Masters (Getty Images)

India’s SSP Chowrasia returns to Europe and the Sicilian Open with a fresh injection of confidence after a heroic victory in his homeland and the chance to rub shoulders with the very best in the business at last week’s World Golf Championship in Miami.

It was three years ago that Chowrasia burst onto the scene with victory in the Indian Masters, but his planned assault on Europe failed to materialise as he struggled to make the transition from Asia to Europe and the starkly contrasting cultures and conditions between the two varied continents.

With his European Tour exemption about to come to an end, Chowrasia looked likely to be restricted by limited starts on Tour this year but that all changed last month with his storming performance at the Avantha Masters, where he gave Indian golf a huge shot of adrenaline by taking the title at the DLF Golf and Country Club.

“I had a couple of starts in South Africa, but I missed the cut at both,” SSP recalled as he prepared to tackle the Donnafugata Golf Resort and SPA over the coming days.

“Then suddenly everything clicked at the Avantha Masters. I’m not sure why it happened there or exactly what clicked – maybe it was the fact there was no pressure on me. Everybody was looking at others and I could relax and play my game but whatever the reason was I managed to play well and win a full card for almost three years, which means my career has changed again.

“I am going to play as much as possible in Europe. This is my chance to put to use all that I learnt while playing these last three years in Europe. I know which courses suit me and I know that I can succeed there.

“I also got a chance to get to the WGC event in Miami last week and that was great to play with the very best in the world. I want to get into the Majors and play more WGCs and playing more in Europe will help me achieve that.”

Chowrasia’s victory in India was huge news in his homeland, another chapter in the inspirational tale of a former caddie who came from a poverty-stricken background and battled his way to massive success and untold riches.

His financial rewards for his two European Tour victories have changed the lives of himself and his family beyond recognition and he still pinches himself at the realisation of being a European Tour champion for the second time.

“With all the earlier money I got a house for my parents and myself and invested some of it. I think I will be investing the money I won at the Avantha Masters, but it is not just the money, but also the confidence in my game is back. It feels nice to know that I can win in a high quality field.

“Naturally my family and friends, who backed me even when I was not winning or doing too well during the last couple of seasons, are very happy and I am glad I was able to fulfil their faith in me. Hopefully I can keep going, keep winning and keep celebrating with them by winning outside of India – that is the next target and I hope it starts this week in Sicily.”