The Columbia University graduate and eight-time winner on the Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour, Ridhima Dilawari, shares her thoughts on the current situation the world is going through, what she is missing from the world of golf and how she’s keeping herself busy during these testing times.
Ridhima Dilawari –
We find ourselves in an unusual time, unlike anything we have experienced before. The extent of a pandemic was completely alien to us, right until the moment we found ourselves smack in the middle of one. Flipping through news channels, all one gets to see are troubling statistics and an eye-opening depiction of communities severely affected by the fallout of the coronavirus. Being a professional golfer, I can be counted among a privileged group of individuals who can afford to be sitting on the sidelines during these trying times. Currently the only job I have, is to stay at home and distance myself socially and this is something I urge every athlete to follow.
In a time of uncertainty, I find myself thinking about the fate of my 2020 travel schedule, all the abruptly postponed/cancelled events, and about an eventual return to my place of work- the golf course. These days I seem to have found solace in revisiting some of the things in my life that I know to be constant- my love for the game of Golf and the history it encompasses. I’ve been picking a major championship final round to watch every day for the past 10 days. As I lie in bed every night, the light of my laptop reflected on my face, I’m drawn into the fascinating world of Augusta National and the likes of Royal Troon, Pebble Beach, along with so many other great courses. I’ve seen most of the historic shots at least dozens of times already. I know that Tiger Woods holes that miraculous chip on 16 in the 2005 Masters, that Payne Stewart holes that 15-footer on the last to win at Pinehurst in 1999. Nevertheless, the momentousness of those golf shots never fails to give me goosebumps. Watching some of the iconic LPGA major final rounds like the 2014 US Open and the 2016 British Open, I wondered how I would have reacted in those situations and tried to visualize the shots that I would have elected to play. Despite knowing the results of each of these tournaments, I found myself fervently glued to my laptop screen, almost like I was watching it all in real time. Seeing these legends hoist trophies over their heads at the end of 72 grueling holes evoked unexpected emotions in me. I felt inspired, but mostly I felt grateful to be in a position where I could strive to create lasting moments like that for myself.
Having competed in the sport since the age of 9, I occasionally tend to forget the reason why I spend countless hours at the practice range and putting green. It has almost become robotic in a sense, something that is an essential part of my daily routine. This might sound overly philosophical coming from someone who has been parked on a couch or in bed for the better part of the last ten days, but the forced time away from golf has really allowed me to introspect and tap into how I truly feel about my chosen profession. In these unprecedented times, it is hard to predict what the future holds and when we can safely leave our homes, let alone resume playing golf. However, one thing I do know is that when I finally get back out on the golf course, it will be with a renewed mindset and a biting urge to try and recreate every iconic shot I came across in my major viewing marathons!