Venetian Macau Open: What they said

Tue 15 Oct 2013

Venetian Macau Open: What they said

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PREVIEW INTERVIEWS
Arjun Atwal (Ind)
First time back on the Asian Tour after a while, you must looking forward to this week?
I’m looking forward to it. I think I last played Macau in 2003 and I remember I played well and maybe finished third and had a chance to win on Sunday which I didn’t. I’ve got good memories of Macau and it’s a fun town.
What do you remember most about the course?
I remember you had to drive it pretty good. It gets pretty windy out there and it’s a tight golf course. You have to hit a lot of fairways and like most golf courses, make putts to have a chance.
You’ve had some injury problems. How is it coming along?
It’s getting better. I would say I’m 80 per cent better. I won’t say I’m fully recovered. My lower back gets tight once in a while so we’ll see. I haven’t played much the past seven weeks. My last 18 hole round that I completed was at the Wyndham Championship. Looking forward to this week.
What caused the problem with the lower back?
Old age (laughter) …  I had a torn meniscus on my left knee and that caused my back to go out. I couldn’t get my weight onto my left side the whole year and I crunched my right side of the lower back. I had two discs herniated. It’s recovering better now.
What will you be looking forward this week?
Competition will be good for me. I don’t have any goals this week. I just want to see where I’m at with my game. I want to see if I can finish all 18 holes every day. We’ll take it from there.
You started out your career on the Asian Tour. What has it meant to you?
Hu Mu of China Hu Mu of China
Everything. This was where we started. Jeev (Singh), myself, Jyoti (Randhawa). It gave us the opportunity at the right time when we were young to learn how to do everything in golf – make cuts, travel around Asia. It was so much fun as it was a tight family tour. We all travelled together, everyone knew everybody. It was a lot of fun. There is no way of saying which tour is better but for me, it’s the most fun tour that I have played on.
Do you still keep in touch with the Asian Tour while you are in America?
Definitely, especially with the Indian boys. A lot of Indian boys have turned pro. I always try to keep up to see who’s playing well and look at the scores at stuff. If any of my friends are doing well, I get more excited.
When you see the likes of Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and Himmat Rai winning on Tour, what does that tell you?
It’s come in leaps and bounds. Back in the day, it was just the three of us. It’s good to see all these young kids as they are not afraid to win. Simply put, they’ve evolved Indian golf a lot more.
Does it give you a bit of a push?
I don’t look at it like that. I don’t have anything to prove any more. I still have a few good years left in me. Personally, I just want to do whatever I can myself.
Jonathan Moore (USA)
Happy to come back to the Venetian Macau Open where you had a top finish last year?
This week kind of kick-started everything for me last year. I had a solid year up to this point but hadn’t really broken through and then had that good week that I was hoping for and it happened in Macau.
That final round was kind of special last year wasn’t it?
Birdied the last five holes. I don’t know if I’ve ever birdied five in a row before in a tournament. To do it in a tournament in the final round was something special. It actually came off after two bogeys, the two par fives, leading up to it. So it shows you never know what will happen in golf.
What is it about the course that you enjoy?
I played pretty good the first year, think I finished top-15 or so. The greens, to me, are some of the best we putt on all year, the fastest greens maybe that we putt on. Putting is always a strength of mine. If I feel like I can stroke the ball and look up and it’s going where I like it to, I think I can get some good scores up.
What’s held you back recently?
Golf’s interesting. It’s a combination of where your fundamentals are and where your confidence is at the same time. My confidence was getting quite high at the end of last year but I think my fundamentals were not quite as good as in the past and eventually I started to hit the shots which affected my confidence. I had to step back and see what I was doing and see the stuff that I was doing better a while back and kind of working on those again. You play a lot and sometimes you lose your form a bit. I think I’m working on the right thing now.
Anything specific at the range?
The clubhead has been flipping through impact and I’ve been hitting some left shots. I’ve been working on trying to take the left side out of play right now and keep some control through the ball.
Will you take the opportunity to enjoy the Venetian Macao again?
The gondola ride was awesome last year. The Venetian Macao is such an amazing hotel and we’re thrilled to be back here.
Jeev Milkha Singh of India Jeev Milkha Singh of India
Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind)
Happy to be back in Macau?
I love it, especially when I’ve got my family travelling with me. I’ve been on the road for so many weeks and the little one is growing. It’s a festive time in India and he’s not missing too much time from school.
Your last trip here was a top-five?
The last time I came here two years ago, I finished fourth. I love this golf course, it’s windy, amazing views and lovely restaurants to eat at during the evenings. There’s lots to do. There’s a lot of buzz in the city. It’s perfect. You work hard and then you can go enjoy yourself. I’m staying at the Venetian Macao and it’s a fantastic place. It’s good to be back. I hope to make the most out of the week.
It’s been a challenging year in terms of results?
My golf hasn’t been good this year. Injuries have kept me from doing better. I took time off in the past two weeks. I’m a firm believer if things are not going that well, you should just back off. I took time off to practice, had some physical practice and I’m fresh now. I’m looking forward to this week and until the end of the year.
Throughout your career, you’ve enjoyed ups and downs. Is this just another phase?
I’ve gone through this phase before and if you keep believing in yourself, things will turn. I’ve gone through ups and downs throughout my career but I’ve always come out as a winner. I’m just going to hang in there again.
What drives you these days?
Honestly, I love this game. I love the pressure, I love the competition, that’s what it keeps me going. That’s why I keep going. I love winning. I’ve got 21 wins worldwide. I just love winning, it’s a great feeling. If there wasn’t pressure, I’ll be bored of this game and you’ll be complacent.
I’ve achieved a lot. I’ve got no pressure of having to keep my card and feed the family. Obviously the financial pressure is less but to perform under pressure is great as the young players are getting better, they are fitter and they hit the ball longer. I’ve got to keep working hard to maintain a certain standard.
Before my career is over, I would like to win a major. I believe I have the game. If I hang in there, put myself in the right position, the right position would be the top-50 to get into the majors, I think I have a fighting chance.
What’s important for this week?
This course, distance control and managing yourself. It gets windy and you need to manage yourself well. Some holes, you can go for it, some you don’t. It’s a great test of golf, some holes are very tight. You’ve got to respect the course. I felt good at the range, hit a lot of balls. I’m looking forward to playing a few weeks in a row and getting some momentum going.
Hu Mu (Chn)
Even though I grew up in Shenzhen, this is the first time I’m in Macau. I’m quite excited to be here. My game hasn’t been very good lately. I’m still working on a lot of things. I’ve not made a lot of cuts and this week is almost like a fresh start for me.
I’ve putted well the entire year. But there’s some new stuff that I’ve worked with David Leadbetter since the start of the year. Sometimes it works good when I’m playing good but my bad weeks are just worse than before. I need more time to digest the new swing thoughts.
It’s a work in progress. I need to be able to trust it. In the past few weeks, I’ve only been able to trust it for nine holes and I would then go back to my old habits. I’m trying to get my left arm across my body. Before, I got my club too steep going up and have it fall underneath on the downswing. That’s the main thing we’re trying to cure. Trying to get left arm across my body on the backswing is the main thing.
I’ve put in a lot of time on the range, beating 300 to 400 balls every day. I hope this week I will have more confidence on my golf swing.
I’ve been looking on the Order of Merit. It’s been on my mind. I’m going to try to play in as many events as I can. This week will be crucial. I’ve hit some putts on the greens here and I love the greens. I love the way the course has been set up. I want to get my game intact.
My mum is here with me now and my dad will come over this weekend. I’ve got some friends coming over as well which should be fun. My parents come out to about three to five tournaments with me. I’ve not had a chance to explore Macau yet but it reminds me a lot of Vegas.
Ends