Atwal’s story gives perspective on life itself

His profile :

Arjun Atwal’s path-breaking PGA triumph brings home the cardinal truth which sport purports to teach us: You can be down, but you’re never out.

Down and declining, Atwal was just about a speck on the golfing radar, having gone through form slumps, a nagging shoulder injury, his dad fighting cancer and even a police investigation involving a horrible car crash in Orlando which led to a death. Now, in one big swoop, he is back in the thick of it, high on confidence and looking towards the future with hope and enthusiasm.

Atwal’s story encompasses the whole gamut, and gives the perspective on life itself. Never lose hope, dig deep… and things will turn around. That’s what sport is all about: you slip into vacillation before experiencing a dazzling clarity.

Atwal has said, “If you don’t know how to lose, then you might as well stop playing golf.” Losing, or failure are part of the package that is life. Coping with it is a skill not everyone has. But a true sportsperson has it.

Atwal’s worth as a pioneer Indian sportsperson is immense. It’s another thing that it’s not recognised in his own country. Besides being the first from the country to qualify for the USPGA Tour, the most sought-after destination in world golf, and being the first to win there, he also was the first Indian to win an European Tour event, in 2002.

Atwal turned pro in 1995 at the age of 22, at a time when pro golf was still taking roots in India. Soon, leaving aside comforts of home and the easy pickings the domestic tour offered, Atwal ventured into the choppy waters of first Asian, then European and finally the US Tour. He formed the great Indian golf trinity – along with Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa – which gave confidence to fledgling golfers across the country that they could go out and match wits with the big ones.

While the media-shy Atwal has seldom complained about the lack of recognition in his homeland, the suave golfer did betray disappointment once during a chat with this correspondent. Soon after finishing joint second at the Bellsouth Classic in April 2005, Atwal said: “A couple of friends called up to say ‘well done’. (Beyond that) I don’t think they follow me back in India. I’m not a cricketer.” He also lamented the fact that no Indian corporate wanted to sponsor him.

The fact that Atwal plays and stays in the US does create some disconnect with the Indian media and the fans. Besides, Atwal does his thing quietly, without creating any hype. But in this age of information and internet, all that should never stop us from celebrating the feats of an Indian champion, and making him feel at home.

Read more: Atwal’s story gives perspective on life itself – Top Stories – Golf – Sports – The Times of India


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