Ravaged by injuries and a slump in form, Indian golfer Arjun Atwal is still undecided about playing in the USD 1,250,000 Indian Open to be held at the Delhi Golf Club from November 7 to 10.
"I am still undecided about the Indian Open. I will be flying back to Orlando, I got a few things to do there. I might get an entry at McGladrey Classic in the PGA tour. If I do, I will miss the India Open but if I don't, I will comeback and play in the India Open," said Atwal on the sidelines of a Indian Golf Union programme, where they announced the launch of National Handicapping Service (NHS) on November 3.
"As an Indian I want to play in the Indian Open. I am asked by people 'As an Indian national don't you feel pride in playing in the 50th year of Indian Open?'. I say what I have been doing for last so many years all over the world. I have always represented India, not America or Switzerland and it is part of my job."
Atwal said 2013 has been the worse phase of his career as he just could not wriggle out of the slump.
"I never had a bad year in my life as a professional golfer. I had just four cuts. I can't remember when was the last time I had such a slump. Most of the slumps have been mini-slumps I could get a way out," he said.
"This year, I could not find a way out both mentally and physically. There are a bunch of player, including Gary Player, who encouraged me then."
Atwal is trying to script a comeback after a six-week lay-off at the Venetian Macau Open scheduled to held from October 17 to 20.
"Physically I am feeling better. I took a month a half off from golf. Last tournament was Wyndham Championship in August. Last three tournaments I played with a herniated disk and then I missed a event due to a left knee problem and finally my back gave out and I have been recuperating from that," he added.
"I came to Kolkata two weeks back and started practising a bit. I started to feel a little better. It is still not 100 per cent. I wanted to play Korea but I pulled out because I have not been able to put hours of practice and I can't play without being prepared. I am scheduled to play Macau. I wanted to feel better so I want to give Macau a shot," added Atwal, who became the first Indian to win on the PGA Tour by clinching the Wyndham Championship in 2010.
Asked if he is happy with the way his career has shaped, Atwal said: "It shaped out okay. Winning in the PGA tour was a dream come true for me but I came so close a number of times but in my mind I should have won more.
"I turned 40 this year, I still think I have another 10 years in me. So I and my wife decided that my management of body has to be different. So I want to cut down on practice hours and manage my physical ability better."
"It is no good to finish second. Nobody remembers the second player. I think it is like first loser."
At 40, Atwal feels it is difficult to recover from an injury and keep motivating oneself.
"Now it takes a long time to recover from injury. When you get older, you feel you have more experience and knowledge of the game and it gets frustrating when you can't do it physically in the tournament. So it gets into your mind. If I had the experience and an injury free body, it would have been fantastic,"
Asked about his business plans, the former Asian number one said: "I am in touch with a couple of people. I want to open up a couple of academy in my name to help the kids. But it is tough. People don't want to invest money in golf when they get it from cricket.
"If I am needed more in India, then I will make more trips. I feel more obligated to growing the game then playing in India Open. Me, Jyoti, Jeev we all came out of this system, so why not give back."