the-south-asian Life & Times                       Oct - Dec 2010




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Arjun Atwal - the story at Sedgefield


Official World Golf Ranking 177

Thirty-seven-year-old Arjun Atwal made history on August 22 as the 1st Indian golfer to win on PGA Tour. He won the Wyndham Championship by a stroke. The pressure-packed putt for par at the final hole at the Sedgefield Country Club in North Carolina, made him the first Monday qualifier to win on the tour in 24 years. Atwal finished at 20-under 260 and won $918,000 as prize money, a spot in next year’s Masters Tournament, and a two-year qualifying exemption on the PGA Tour.

Though he has had three victories on the European Tour and seven wins on the Asian Tour, the win at Sedgefield was BIG for Atwal! From having no PGA Tour membership, Atwal will now join the golf elite on the PGA Tour.

Atwal suffered Injury to both his shoulders last year, which kept him away from golf for more than four months and as a result he lost the tour membership. He got into the field at Sedgefield after winning a Monday qualifier - with a nothing-to-lose approach.

"I told my caddie we got nothing to lose this week ... just go out there and try and win it. Guys out there will be trying to secure their FedEx Cup spots or whatever. I don't have a card or anything. Just go out and freewheel it. That's what I did." He was leading in each of the four rounds, and at times sharing the lead with six others. The six-foot putt for par on the final hole brought him the one-shot victory. "I was really nervous over that last putt. It was the most nervous I've ever been in my entire life. My heart rate was probably 150. I am just glad it went in" says Atwal, who now lives in Orlando with his wife Sona and two young sons – six-year-old (going on 14) Krishan, and two-year-old Shiva.

Following is an exclusive with SALT – a conversation carried out in between shots on a golf course – three weeks after Atwal’s win at Sedgefield.


SALT: Sunday Aug 22 will remain a day you will not forget. Three weeks later – has the 6’ or 7’ putt sunk in – does it feel real now?

AA: Oh yes! It has well sunk in – I’m already playing and practicing again.

What were the thoughts racing through your head at the time on the final hole?

I was nervous but I had to calm myself down and tell myself that I had made this type of putt before in Europe and Asia, and once I did that I could relax mentally and make that putt.

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The South Asian Life & Times



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