After spending 19 years in professional golf, Jeev Milkha Singh is as keen about his fitness as a 19-year-old. It is the compulsion to meet the challenges at the highest level that forces Jeev to look after his 40-year-old body well.
“Injury is part of (a sportsman's) life. The body has to take the toll,” said Jeev on Tuesday during an interaction with mediapersons at the announcement of the second edition of the 200,000 euros Gujarat Kensville Challenge.
“If you stay fit, you think better and play better,” he added.
Jeev had an inconsistent 2011 season in which he had a few top-10 finishes as well as some disappointing results. “This year I am fresh…I will try to repeat my performance of 2008 (in which he won three titles). My main aim is to move back into the top 100 in the rankings and then into the top 50,” said the veteran, currently ranked 187th in the world.
At present, Jeev is sweating out under the guidance of trainer Ranadeep Roy to attain full fitness before he ventures out for the Abu Dhabi HSBC championship from January 26, followed by three tournaments in Qatar, Dubai and Avantha Masters here.
“I am doing just four exercises (daily), mainly to make my back stronger. It has helped me,” he said. Like last year, Jeev hopes to compete in around 35 events with the focus on the European Tour. “I have already cut down on the number of events. If you stay focussed on one tour, then you do better.”
About Gujarat Kensville Challenge, the European Challenge Tour (ECT) event to be held at the Kensville Golf and Country Club, near Ahmedabad, from January 26-29, Jeev said it would be a great opportunity for young golfers to make their mark.
However, due to prior commitment, he cannot participate in the tournament on his signature course.
Altogether 114 players — 60 from the ECT, 48 from the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) and six sponsor invitees — are scheduled to tee up for the Kensville Challenge. Three of the six invitees will come through a qualifying round to be played at the Noida Golf Course on Thursday.
As of now, all the top Indian players and rising star Peter Uihlein, the world number one amateur in 2010, have entered their names for the competition.