SPORT

The best season of my career: Jeev

Sports Reporter

The Singapore Open title was special given the depth of the field

NEW DELHI: Jeev Milkha Singh is grateful to the “golfing gods who have been kind” to him this year — his best season so far with four title triumphs. The Indian ace wants to continue the dream run and is keen to be fitter and smarter before treading the fairways next year.

Back in India after another hectic yet successful season, Jeev, who recently bagged the Players’ Player of the Year and the Order of Merit titles on the Asian Tour, now needs a break to return with greater determination.

“My right ankle is in terrible shape. I have to get it right before the next season starts. Right now it’s like if I run for a mile, I can’t walk because the ankle hurts badly. I will start cycling and I have picked up some special exercises to sustain a good level of fitness,” Jeev said here on Tuesday.

“I have also put on weight. So less ‘paranthas’ and more exercise now,” he added in a lighter vein.

Cutting down

The 37-year-old pro, who is in regular touch with his personal physio, has decided to cut down on the number of tournaments he will play in 2009 in order to stay away from injuries.

“I played 37 tournaments this year, which means 37 weeks. That is the maximum played by anybody in the world and it invites injuries. So I have decided to play 32 tournaments next year,” Jeev said.

In 2009, the Indian pro will focus on the Majors, the US PGA Tour events and a few tournaments in Japan, including two in which he will defend the title.

Looking back at the year, Jeev rated the Barclays Singapore Open win as the best of his four titles.

“I would rate the Singapore Open as my best win this year because of the depth of the field. Being in the same group as Padraig (Harrington)... Ernie (Els) was there and so was Phil (Mickelson). Winning there was quite special.

“Overall, it was the best season of my career. The golfing gods were kind to me. I would say somebody was looking after me up there,” Jeev added.

Jeev was philosophical while talking about the trauma of losing his first child — his wife Kudrat suffered a miscarriage — during his title-winning effort in Japan. “It was all God’s will, I can’t fight fate,” he said.

A great believer in perseverance, Jeev — the first player in Asian Tour history to surpass the $one million mark in a season — advised young golfers to pursue their goals with passion.

“One should believe in whatever you do and should be honest in one’s work ethics. I have been through that. Once I had to play qualifying for the Japan Tour. Then 2006 was a great year and in 2007 I did not win. One should hang in there. It requires a lot of patience but it makes one stronger,” Jeev said.

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