Thursday, August 20, 2009

Of Golf and Philosophy

2004 in Malawi

While I was working in Malawi, Southern Africa, I got introduced to the game of golf. By the time I started understanding the game, it was time for me to pack off. I used to go to the Limbe club, started by the English, where I was a member. Accompanied by my son I had practice sessions on Sunday mornings and the early morning wanderings in the golf course were quite refreshing. On other evenings, with friends we used to have a round of beer after a match at Blantyre club.

Unlike Africa, other countries are far too expensive for someone wanting to take up golf as a past time for fun and exercise. Many countries in Africa with bountiful land, beautiful landscapes, good climate and the English legacy are ideally suited for the game. In India, the game used to be reserved for a few of the rich people and to the bureaucrats who always had much leisure.

What prompted me to think of golf was the news of a rather unknown South Korean golfer by name Y.E.Yang overthrowing the great man Tiger Woods, to win the title in the US PGA Championship on last Sunday. Tiger Woods, as anyone remotely connected to any sports will vouch, is one of the greatest and richest sports icons of all time. He was to win his 15th consecutive major championship in this tournament and was quite at the edge of it.

Alas! It was not to be and a David who kept his cool was to defeat this Goliath! Yang, who was two shots adrift of the over night leader Woods held his nerve and went on to win the title by three shots.

I don’t intend to go into the technical aspects of this tournament but to the philosophy of the whole match.

Yang, a rank outsider for the tournament was 37 years old when he became the first Asian male to win one of Golf’s four grand slam events. Till then, he had a lowly 110th rank in the world. He is the son of a vegetable grower and he had not touched a golf club till he was 19. Once he took to the game, he was totally dedicated. He refused to be intimidated by the World no: 1 and showed utter fearlessness when it mattered most.

On winning the title at a time when all pointers were favouring Woods, he said the following:

“I guess the fearlessness comes from the fact that I know, I am doing my dream job.
Everyday, I am living my dream. I also have this mentality where I try my best and leave no regrets. If it does not work out, then that is that. I leave no regrets. So I guess if I do have courage, that is where it comes from”

So, this is my advice to all my young readers including my daughter Lavanya who has just passed out her B.Arch and to my son Mithun who is in the tenth class:

“Have a dream. Try your best and leave no regrets!”

Dubai, 19th August 2009.


meerasworld said...

Your post reminded me of the issues thats going on with the TVM golf club now,one of the oldest in the world.I dont want to think about what could happen to the beautiful golf club if it becomes totally under the Govt,on the other i feel whoever wants to play golf should be able to play by paying a fee.It shouldnt be the property of only a handful of elite ppl.Let it be owned and controlled by a pvt group,but also let the common ppl who wants to play this game play with a fee.
I used to wonder why ppl waste time playing such an easy game until i tried my son's Wii game!! its not easy:)

Murali RamaVarma said...

Yes, Meera;there is an overdose of politics in everything in Kerala. The Trivandrum golf club incident is no exception. Some of the elite of the city -including bureaucrats and businessmen- want to retain their interests at the expense of the game and the people at large to whom it belongs.

The game ofcourse is not easy as you observed. Thanks for reading.

Maddy said...

Yang was certainly a revelation - wonder if Tiger's style changed after he started working out & toning his body. I guess, golf is for relaxed human beings, not taut body machines..I don't play it anyway and have only a rudimentary grasp...

Murali RamaVarma said...

Maddy, I guess you are right about Tiger. My point was about the Davids who overthrow Goliaths which should be inspiration enough for youngsters.

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