For sure, Gaganjeet Bhullar has modelled himself on Jeev Milkha Singh, his idol from Chandigarh. The way this upcoming golfer speaks, the humility with which he carries himself and the honesty that comes through his words reflect the impression the famous son of the Union Territory has had on this golfing talent.
In the Capital to receive the first Special Edition Mercedes-Benz C-Class car, worth Rs. 28.46 lakh, Bhullar exuded the confidence gained from his outing at the British Open followed by the triumphant campaign in the Indonesian Open and the narrowly-missed Brunei Open title following a playoff.
“My whole outlook towards golf has changed following the British Open. It was great to watch Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh on the driving range and the putting green.
“I did not get a chance to talk to Tiger, because of the security around him and I know for a fact that he is a reserved person. When the players are going through their routine ahead of a major tournament, it is not the right time to walk up to another player and seek guidance.
“Each one is aiming to win the tournament. So you concentrate on your routine and process instead of looking for a chance to meet someone. I did get to speak to Vijay Singh. I had met him a couple of years ago, too.
“I understand that what separates these leading golfers from the rest is their mental strength. About 80 per cent of your success is due to your mental strength. Just look at Tiger. He did not do well at the Open, but thereafter, he is been playing consistently well in every tournament. That’s why he is considered the best.”
Coming back to his new mindset, the 21-year-old said, “As it is, I love to play more and learn from every tournament. After the Open, now I play to win every tournament.
“I’ve had a few top-10 finishes in the past but now I am not satisfied with a good finish. Now I want to win. That’s why I could win the Indonesian Open. I carried the confidence of having played the Open into the Indonesian Open, drove the ball well and the changed attitude helped me win.
“Yes. I could have won at Brunei, too, but I know that I did not play too well on the first two days. I was pleased with my driving and the fact that I reached most greens in regulation but missed quite a few putts. But I don’t regret the missed opportunity.
“I know I am going to be in a similar situation in future. I’ll be better prepared to deal with it,” says a confident Bhullar.
“My goal this year is to qualify (from the final stage in Spain) for the European Tour. Since I don’t have to clear the first two stages of qualification, I am very keen to secure my card and play all the events next season.
“I think it is always better to move from the Asian Tour to the European Tour instead of straightaway trying one’s luck in the PGA Tour. The greens in Europe, unlike the ones in Asia, do not have grains and are really true. I feel comfortable on them,” reveals Bhullar who feels that like anyone else in the game, he needs to constantly work on his short-game.
Asked to comment on the inclusion of golf in the 2016 Olympic Games, Gagandeep said, “I will definitely work hard to be part of the Games. I feel the Majors will still be considered bigger than an Olympic medal in golf for the simple reason that Olympics happen once in four years.
“A Green jacket (for the Masters champion) and the Claret Jug (for the Open winner) will always be very special.”