"Chawrasia, Chikka take similar road to world stage"

Thu 03 Nov 2016

"Chawrasia, Chikka take similar road to world stage"

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Sentosa, Singapore, November 3: Growing up some 1,500 kilometers apart, the golf careers of India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia and Chikkarangappa S. could not have taken a more identical pathway that they are now on same track to challenge the world in Melbourne later this month.
Both Asian Tour players will make their debuts at the ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf at Kingston Heath Golf Club from November 24 to 27, forming one of seven two-man Asian teams hoping to hoist the famous trophy won previously by many legends of the games.
"Hero Indian Open - Day Four"Chawrasia, 38, is the older and more established of the two, thanks largely to three victories in co-sanctioned Asian Tour and European Tour tournaments while Chikka, as he is better known, is 12 years younger and regarded as one of the nation’s exciting and new prospects.
Their rise against the odds is inspirational, with Chawrasia growing up as the son of a greenskeeper in Kolkata and Chikka working as a ball boy in Bengaluru where he’d earned US$1 day.
As a youngster, Chawrasia’s intrigue with golf saw him climb over walls to sneak in a few holes before being chased away by club members while Chikka spent hours mimicking golf swings. Ironically, the former now owns a nice home near the club and the latter is touted to own a golf swing that can land him Asian Tour victories and beyond.
“We always play for ourselves as professionals and we hardly play for our countries unlike our amateur days. It’s a proud honour to represent India in the World Cup. It’s the best feeling ever.” - Chikkarangappa S.

“From our village, we could see the Eagleton golf course and I was curious about the golf buggies moving around. One day, I tried walking in to see what it was about. I was young and small, and they didn’t allow me in but I walked in anyway,” said Chikka with a grin.
“I became a ball boy at the range when I was about eight. I just fell in love with the game. I wanted to get more involved and I worked there so I could play a bit and earn some money by collecting balls from 7am to 7pm during weekends. That would keep mum happy too.”
Chikka’s first clubs were a used half-set given by a Japanese expatriate. Although it was a women’s set, he recalled sleeping that night with the bag next him. His raw talents inevitably saw become a top Indian amateur that he was also selected to play in the 2012 Bonnalack Trophy and partnered a Japanese youngster by the name of Hideki Matsuyama.
Chikkarangappa S. of India Chikkarangappa S. of India
“My parents … we did agriculture to take care of the house. My dad also worked in the villages building houses. It was difficult for us. The dream and ambition was for me to become a graduate and start earning money. But I chose golf when I was 11,” said Chikka.
He is indebted to Chawrasia for picking him as his partner for the World Cup of Golf. “It was a shock. Out of so many guys, for S.S.P. to choose me, I was really happy. I’ve been looking for opportunities and he’s given me the chance and we’ll see what we can do in Melbourne.
“We always play for ourselves as professionals and we hardly play for our countries unlike our amateur days. It’s a proud honour to represent India in the World Cup. It’s the best feeling ever,” said Chikka, who is currently ranked 30th on the Asian Tour thanks to four top-10s this season.
While reigning Asian Tour number one Anirban Lahiri is like a brother to him and they share the same swing coach in Vijay Divecha, Chikka said Chawrasia’s well-scripted rise in the game from an under-privilege upbringing provided him with his early inspiration.
“It’ll be a fun event. We’ll make sure we enjoy it. I’m very comfortable with him. He’s normally not funny but when I say something, he normally gets very funny. I don’t know why.” - SSP Chawrasia on his partner Chikkarangappa S.

“He’s the most genuine and down to earth person,” said Chikka. “Compared to where he came from, we both belong in the same place in regards to where we started our careers. I’ve always looked up to him … from being nothing, he’s grown, becoming a winner in Asia and Europe. He has kept his dream alive. S.S.P. always had the hunger to be the best that he can be, which is what I want to do as well.”
The self-taught Chawrasia, who won the Hero Indian Open earlier this season, is looking forward to representing his nation for the first time in the World Cup of Golf alongside Chikka. They have already discussed colour coordinated outfits as well to ensure they look the part as a united team.
“I chose Chikka as he’s been playing really good. I’m a short hitter and I wanted to pick a long hitter to give ourselves a chance to compete. We couldn’t have two short hitters. Chikka hits it long and he’s also on form,” said Chawrasia, currently ranked ninth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit.
“It’ll be a fun event. We’ll make sure we enjoy it. I’m very comfortable with him. He’s normally not funny but when I say something, he normally gets very funny. I don’t know why.”
Growing up, Chawrasia did not know about the World Cup of Golf. It was only after India had enjoyed its best finish with a ninth place outing via Arjun Atwal and Jyoti Randhawa in the 2005 edition that he began to take notice.
“I knew Jyoti and Arjun had played well. I said I would like to go too one day. I thought my time would come and finally, here I am going to Australia soon,” said Chawrasia, who is nicknamed “Chip-putt-sia” for his short game prowess. It has also been documented that he would practice his chipping in the dark with torchlights and candles around the greenside providing some semblance of light during his formative golf years.
While Australia, England, United States and Japan will start as favourites at Kingston Heath, Chawrasia isn’t too concerned. “We won’t focus on the other teams. We’ll go out there to enjoy ourselves. We’ll have a clear mind, play our own games and if we play well, we can beat the other teams. I don’t think I’ll be telling Chikka what to do as he’s a rising star,” said Chawrasia.
About ISPS HANDA
ISPS, the International Sports Promotion Society, is a charitable organization that promotes sports, such as golf, polo and rowing, in a belief that sports and sporting platforms can help achieve world peace. It also supports blind golf as its founder and chairman Haruhisa Handa, dubbed the father of blind golf in Japan, is the first person in Japan to establish a blind golf club, which is now called the Japan Blind Golf Association.
Dr Handa also serves as founder and chairman of the International Foundation for Arts and Culture, or IFAC, a nonprofit organization established to promote social welfare activities through music and art events. IFAC is title sponsor to the Handa Opera on Sydney Harbour, one of the most celebrated events in the arts calendar in Australia and internationally, which takes place between the end of March and the end of April every year.
About Melbourne, Victoria
Voted the world's most livable city for the past five years, Melbourne is a leader in staging international sporting and cultural events, with its super-friendly people ready to welcome World Cup of Golf visitors. The city is famed for its laneways and cafe culture, known as Australia's coffee capital, and is home to vibrant arts, music and fashion scenes. Melbourne's food credentials are attracting global attention and the city is the gateway to Victoria, including 21 wine regions, the stunning Great Ocean Road scenic drive and abundant native Australian wildlife. Victoria's landscapes offer everything from international surf beaches, islands and coastal experiences to Alpine mountain ranges and inland lakes. Victoria is also a popular destination for domestic and international golfing tourism, famed for its sandbelts and home to picturesque, challenging courses that suit every ability.
Media assistance is available for World Cup media wishing to develop destination related content, research locations for outside broadcasts, interview local personalities and access rights free footage. Please contact destinationpr@tourism.vic.gov.au with any requests. Destination information is also available at www.visitmelbourne.com 
About the International Federation of PGA Tours
The International Federation of PGA Tours was formed in 1996 by golf’s five world governing bodies – the European Tour, Japan Golf Tour Organisation, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour (South Africa PGA Tour) with the purpose of providing a forum for the world’s professional golf organizations to discuss issues of mutual importance and, together, develop and promote the game of golf on a global basis.  As part of its mission, the Federation initiated the World Golf Championships in 1999.  The Asian Tour joined the International Federation of PGA Tours in November 1999.
In step with global growth of professional golf, the International Federation of PGA Tours announced an expansion and restructuring of its membership in 2009, adding the International Golf Association and additional professional golf tours, including – for the first time – women’s golf tours: China Golf Association; Korea Professional Golfers’ Association; Professional Golf Tour of India; LPGA Tour; Ladies European Tour; Australian Ladies Professional Golf Tour; Japan LPGA; Korean LPGA; and Ladies Asian Golf Tour.
About the International Golf Association
The International Golf Association (IGA) is a not-for-profit corporation, chartered in the State of New York in 1956.  IGA is governed by its six-member Board of Directors.  Jonathan Linen is the IGA Board Chairman.  Through its association with the International Federation of PGA Tours, IGA continues its international goodwill through golf mission and looks forward to the 2016 return of the World Cup of Golf to Melbourne and a new Sandbelt region course in historic Kingston Heath Golf Club.