He has been a flag bearer of Indian golf for more than two decades now. Three-time Indian Open champion and former Asia No. 1 Jyoti Randhawa was undergoing a slump of form following a hand injury in 2013. But the adrenaline junkie and an adventure sports enthusiast made a strong comeback in 2016 season- ending tournaments World Manila Masters and Panasonic Open India. He was in the mix in Manila, leading the first two rounds, before finishing joint fourth. Further, he came close to winning once again at the Delhi Golf Club, ending runner-up in the weather-curtailed Panasonic Open India.
The 44-year-old looks confident and is raring to go in the new season. Randhawa spoke about his son Zorawar’s interest in golf and his target of winning a title in Asia on the sidelines of the $1.75 million Hero Indian Open. Excerpts from the interview:
GDI: How are you scheduling your season now and how many events do you target?
I am going to play all of the Asian tour and a few in the European tours. I am looking at playing 20 weeks this year.
GDI: What are your goals now?
I need to win a golf tournament either in Asia or in Europe that is what I am looking forward to.
GDI: Describe a day in the life of Jyoti Randhawa- during season and off season
When I am back from a tour I watch a lot of movies, relax, spend time with my son Zorawar, and go for rides either on my bike or my car. I also do a lot of target shooting. During off season I am out in the jungles, I go sky diving, do scuba diving. I pack my bags load my 4/4 and go to the mountains and/or go fishing.
GDI: Describe your daily fitness routine.
I usually wake up at 5:30 am and go for my regular work out session – I do a little bit of running around 3-4 kms to warm up then a little stretching and then a lot of core exercises. With age muscles tend to wither so in order to tone the muscle I also do light weights for muscle toning & strength.
GDI: You’ve been athletic and into various sports from a young age. How important was that in keeping you relatively injury free throughout your career?
Being athletic has been the key for me, being fit has always been an advantage. That is the reason I have never got injured besides a few broken bones due to adventure sports. Because of playing so many sports all my muscles and hand eye co-ordination improved and eventually became injury proof and the muscles developed in a certain way where they can take all the load.
GDI: How much of a role did your army background and father play in you becoming a professional golfer?
Whatever I am today it is because of my father and the army background. My father always pushed me to play golf and the army background granted me access to golf courses and good training. My discipline in life and my game also come from the army background I was raised in.
GDI: You are an adrenaline junkie and love adventure and outdoor sports. What are you up to these days?
As I said earlier I like sky diving that’s the latest passion I have. I go biking a lot. Next I am going to Aligarh for sky diving.
GDI: Your love for motorcycles is well known. What is the latest addition to your garage?
I have a Yamaha R1 – 1000 cc, which I have had for few years. I had a Hayabusa as well but given to my schedule I can only maintain one bike, so I am just happy with the R1 currently.
GDI: You are an ace shooter as well. How has your shooting been and are you considering more focus there?
Yes, shooting has improved. The best part is golf helps shooting and shooting helps golf. In both the games you have to be relaxed and should be able to execute under pressure and have a clear mind. I am pursuing shooting but I still have a few years left in golf so once I’m done with golf I will take shooting seriously.
GDI: Is your son Zorawar taking to golf?
Yes he is really into golf but I do not push him too much as he is just 9 years old. But yes he wants to play golf and wants to go out with me and like the outdoor life. He has got a good swing, and I hope he will become a good golfer one day.
GDI: Where do you practise most often and who is your coach?
I practice at Golden Greens golf course. I have had an association with Pritam Saikia from the last 2-3 years and he is my coach.
GDI: You’ve inspired a whole generation of golfers. Your advice to youngsters aspiring for a pro career?
For a good game one needs to remember that there is no short cut to hard work. One should have complete knowledge of the game, should be ready to work hard to achieve the goals, should have discipline in life and in the game and lastly should follow a strict routine.
GDI: What do you feel needs to be done for India to churn out more world class golfers?
I think having more public golf courses could solve the problem. Golf courses should charge a minimal fee from the users. The golf courses should give free access to students as we have a lot of talent and we just need to encourage them to take up golf.
Golf course in India- Delhi Golf Club
Golf course around the world- Capilano Golf Course, Vancouver and Lake Karrinyup Golf Course, Australia
Movie- The Shawshank Redemption
Actors- Daniel Day-Lewis
Music- Soft rock, Michael Jackson, Bryan Adams everything 80s
Drink- My everyday juice which is orange, pomegranate and grapes
Food- Thai food (chicken green curry & rice)
Superstitions –Not superstitious
Essentials in your travel bag- My rifle, my ammo, my fishing rod, my ATV (All Terrain Vehicle)
Mid-round power snack?- a banana
Sport apart from golf- Swimming, shooting and sky diving
Holiday destination- Thailand (I love the beaches there)
Clubs in your bag
Irons –TaylorMade irons Driver –TaylorMade M2 Driver Putter –Odyssey Callaway Wedge –Titleist Vokey design Woods –TaylorMade
Golf Course on your wishlist- Augusta National
Mentor- My Dad – he has always been there and has been a big influence in my life
JYOTI TURNS ENTREPRENEUR
Jyoti Randhawa ventured into new territory by setting up a new physiotherapy and rehab centre in New Delhi called ProHealth Asia. Randhawa felt such a centre was much needed for sportspersons and golfers in particular to help expedite the recovery process.
GDI: What is Pro Health Asia? How can they help golfers?
Philippa Stewart, who has been handling physiotherapy on the Asian Tour for almost 15 years is with Pro Health Asia and I have been treated by her for the past 20 years now. I met my other partner Abhinav, 2 years back and we decided on doing this physiotherapy clinic and that’s how Pro Health Asia was born. I wanted someone good as a physio, who would be able to provide world class service. I have worked with physios in India and abroad and when they really know what they are doing, they are invaluable to golfers and other sportspersons.
GDI: Do you recommend Pro Health Asia to fellow Indian golfers?
It is not only about me being in the business but the quality of the service that Pro Health Asia provides. Both preventive and the rehab we have are world class and we also have the right people at the right place. Philippa Stewart and Shrikant Iyengar are doing a great job and are the best fits for Pro Health Asia.