New Delhi: Arjun Atwal, the stylish youngster could well turn out to be Indian golf's hottest property in the coming years. Of the two Indian golfers who finished in the top 10 in the 2001 Davidoff Asian PGA Tour's year-ending Order of Merit, Atwal finished fifth, while Vivek Bhandari stood ninth. Atwal has had a very satisfying 2001 season. In only 13 tournaments on the APGA circuit, the Kolkata-based golfer has notched up $111,237.62 in prize money earnings. The 28-year-old winner of the 1999 Wills Indian Open and the Hero Honda Masters Champion is only the second Indian to qualify for the prestigious European PGA tour. Atwal sets the greens ablaze with his powerful strokes. "When I turned pro, I didn't basically know what I was doing in golf. I was fluking it here and there, won a couple of tournaments, but nothing really special. Then in 1997 I started playing a little better and then I got married in 2000 to Ritika. That's when I really started playing well," remarked Arjun. Well, marriage has certainly worked wonders for him. "It is much better, I think, because it was getting very lonely on the tour. You have friends and stuff, but there's only so much you can do with them," he elaborated. Meanwhile, the fairways and the greens remain an all-consuming passion for Arjun, but the stakes have grown larger since then. One thing that is sure to assist him in this endeavour is yoga. "I had a weak back to start off with when I was 15-16 and that's when I started learning about yoga. I do it religiously everyday. In this game it does become a lot in the mind after a while and yoga helps you with that," he said. The next tournament of the European PGA Tour will kick off from January 10 to 13 in South Africa. From there on it's a series of gruelling tournaments which will end sometime in November 2002. And with Ritika by his side and an excellent past record, Arjun is sure to make a mark in the EPGA.
Topics : Golf