Comebacks are always riveting because the revival of a forgotten man always makes a compelling human story.
Comebacks are always riveting because the revival of a forgotten man always makes a compelling human story. As Calvin Koh writes, we cheer them because we can all identify with the feeling of loss and subsequently celebrate the triumph of the human spirit.
Rahil Gangjee is a name that may not resonate beyond the golfing fraternity but after his win at the Panasonic Open Golf Championship in Japan, he will be someone to remember for every occasion. 14 years. That was how long it took the affable Indian to clinch his second Asian Tour title again.
The Indian said, ‘When you do not deliver after so many times, you start to doubt yourself.’ But throughout those barren years, the Indian attitude towards his craft was unwavering and he was definitely not ready to say his last goodbye to the sport.
Pressure does not care about form as Rahil Gangjee will tell you his ‘heart rate was up’, and ‘his mind was going all over the place,’ epecially when he got to the green with his ball inside the greenside bunker.
“My third shot out of the bunker was not really a tough shot. But under the pressure it could have been a very tough one.’
After getting up and down and splashing his ball to within 10 feet of the hole, questions abound in those minutes which seem like hours.
Can he hold his nerve with the staring cameras, a title on the line and a seemingly easy putt to win and erase years of heartbreak?
At the end, the answer lied in Gangjee’s sheer will power.
“Everyone will play their part in helping you out, the caddie, the mother, the father, the wife, friends. But more than anything else, you have to want it. And that has kept me going.
And when you finally deliver, it’s a very big thing,” he said.
Greatness has a story and the gentle man from Calcutta with a competitive snarl couldn’t have scripted it better.
I had the honour of hosting Gangjee’s winner’s press conference and his captivating quotes reminded me of why I fell in love with sports.
At the Leopalace21 Myanmar Open last year, Australia’s Todd Sinnott hit six balls into the water in his opening two rounds.
He barely made it through with just two strokes to spare from the cut but moved from 40th position to tied fourth after the third day and cruised to victory thanks to six birdies in the final round.
I asked Sinnott what sparked that comeback and just one word said it all.
Calvin Koh (right) talks with Australia’s Todd Sinnott on the course during the 2017 Leopalace21 Myanmar Open