Arjun Atwal Reveals Rough Times Almost Made him Quit Golf
Arjun Atwal last won on the Asian Tour in 2008 when he took the Maybank Malaysian Open title.
On Sunday, veteran Indian golfer Arjun Atwal ended a frustrating four-year title drought by winning the inaugural Dubai Open by one stroke after South Korean teenager Wang Jeung-hun bogeyed the final hole at the par-72 Els Club Dubai.
Atwal, a former Asian Tour number one, trailed by one heading into the par-five 18th hole but emerged victorious with a closing birdie while a nervous 19-year-old Wang posted a six following a wayward second shot which ended in a bush.
The 41-year-old Indian, one of four overnight leaders at the final tournament of the 2014 Asian Tour season, ended the day of high drama by signing off with a six-under-par 66 and a winning total of 16-under-par 2727 while Wang carded for a 67. Scotsman Simon Yates took third place following a 68.
Excerpts from a chat.
Q.Â Long time between Asian Tour wins, how does this feel?
A. This one feels really special.Â I think the last time I won on the Asian Tour was 2008.Â I've gone through some really tough times the last few years with injuries and losing my card on the PGA Tour and all that stuff.Â It was at a point where I almost wanted to quit.Â Thanks to a few of my family and friends, I didn't, and here we are.
Q.Â You had a tough day on Thursday but then you managed to bounce back with three fantastic rounds. Did you change anything?
A: I just found a little something in my putting.Â I adjusted to something that I used to do because the greens in Asia are a little bit slower than the ones I'm used to on the PGA Tour.Â Just making that adjustment got me rolling the ball a little bit better, so made some putts.
Q.Â Just take us back to 17.Â Just talk us through that hole.Â You must be feeling for Wang.
A: I do.Â I really do.Â He's a great young player.Â I couldn't believe he's only 19.Â He's old enough to be my son. Yeah, he had it pretty much locked up.Â He did the right thing.Â He hit it in the middle of the green and then missed that short putt.Â And I hit it absolutely in the wrong spot and somehow managed actually I almost made par.Â But it's a tough loss for him but I'm sure he's going to win a lot.
Q.Â Obviously it's the end of the season for you but it must be giving you a nice boost doing into next year. What are your plans?
A: I don't know.Â But I have to ask for invites anymore on the Asian Tour anymore which is a good thing.Â This is my fifth invite in-a-row and I would like to thank all the sponsors on the Asian Tour that have given me an opportunity to play, and especially golf in Dubai here, giving me an invite.Â It's been great.
(With inputs from the Asian Tour)