Gang­jee’s ‘strong­est club’ to his res­cue

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - SPORT - Kaushik Chat­terji ■ kaushik.chat­terji@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The one-wood has got the big­gest head of them all. Man­u­fac­tured from ma­te­ri­als that have their ori­gins in the aero­space in­dus­try — ti­ta­nium al­loys, for in­stance — it’s the most tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced piece of equip­ment in golf, the light­est and most ex­pen­sive club in a bag. But if you are play­ing at the Delhi Golf Club, chances are the driver is not in your bag at all. The nar­row fair­ways of the Lodhi course aren’t con­ducive to driver use. Sure, it adds meat off the tee, but dis­tance isn’t ev­ery­thing — with­out suf­fi­cient ac­cu­racy, there’s the dan­ger of end­ing up in the tan­gled mass of prickly bushes. And, of course, myr­iad fauna. Even on the long par-fives, one usu­ally sticks to the safety of the higher-num­bered woods.

That Rahil Gang­jee can say with some con­vic­tion that he is “go­ing to take the driver out” says a lot about his state of mind. Sure, he knows what the driver is “go­ing to do”, where it’s go­ing to take the ball. But it also shows that he is fo­cus­ing on the pos­i­tives. After Round Two of the Pana­sonic Open, it would have been easy to dwell on the two blem­ishes on his card.

Gang­jee, though, took the bo­geys in his stride. Also the duffed chip onto the 18th green, after his ap­proach shot found the green­side grass bunker, land­ing in a bit of “loose mud”. In­stead, he talked about his “strong­est club” com­ing to his res­cue on at least two oc­ca­sions dur­ing the day, in­clud­ing the fi­nal hole, where his dis­tance off the tee all but en­sured the half­way lead. And, of course, Amer­ica.

While un­will­ing to invest “a lot of re­sources and pa­tience” in try­ing to ac­cess the PGA Tour, Gang­jee re­mains grate­ful for the ex­pe­ri­ences on the sec­ond tier, ex­pe­ri­ences that have “el­e­vated my game to another level”.

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