Kuala Lumpur: Watching old videos of his finest two seasons has given Indian star Jeev Milkha Singh hope of reliving his glory days.
The double Asian Tour Order of Merit champion tees up in tomorrow’s inaugural US$3 million Maybank Championship Malaysia, sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour, confident that he is on track to return to his best form.
“I haven’t played well in my last two tournaments,” admitted Singh. “(But) I found something in Dubai. I’m feeling really confident and feel my game is coming around and that I’ll have a good year ahead.
“I struggled the last three years. I decided to look at some things and went back to when I was playing my best golf in 2006 and 2008 (when he was Asian Tour number one), looked at a lot of videos, the way I swung the club. I’m trying to go back to that and remember that, and I’m feeling better with my swing. I’m looking forward to this week.”
After winning the Scottish Open in 2012, Singh, who was captain of the recent EurAsia Cup where Team Asia lost to Europe, has fallen on tough times. Injuries have not helped either but the 44-year-old believes he still has 10 years of top golf left in his body.
“For sure, I just feel I have a lot of golf left and I like to play in the Seniors Tour also. I’ve got a goal set … that I want to win again. The last three years, a lot of things have been said that when a player goes down, it’s tough to come back. For me personally, I want to win again to prove something to myself,” said Singh, whose father Milkha Singh was a top Olympic runner.
“Because of the injury in my right shoulder (previously), I started doing something in my swing which wasn’t working for me. I think the most important thing for a golfer is he needs to know where the club is when he takes it back. For the last few years, I didn’t know where it was and it was too quick.
“The best golf I played with was when I know where the club is and when it comes back, it comes back square to the ball. So, I’ve got something which I’ve tried in Dubai in the last round. I felt really good, I hit a lot of golf shots which felt like the way I used to hit it. It’s a matter of time when everything clicks. I’ve been working on the right stuff. Like I said, I will win this year,” said Singh.
With a new generation of golfers emerging across the globe, Singh knows that grizzled veterans like himself faces a tough challenge to win tournaments.
“That’s the nature of the sport now, in any sport in fact. The young guys have to take over. There’s a time frame for an athlete to do well. But I look at Tom Watson who nearly won the Open at the age of 59 and there were also Greg Norman and Fred Couples. If they can do it, why not me? I would like to try and give it my best shot. The young players do have the advantage but the older players have the experience. It evens out,” Singh smiled.
He welcomed the addition of the Maybank Championship Malaysia onto the Tours’ schedules, saying that the region was on the right path to continued growth.
“It’s fantastic for golf. Thanks to Maybank for putting on the championship. They’ve supported golf in Malaysia for years and it’s good to see a big event like this taking place. We’ve got the top players from Europe and Asia here, I think that’s what we need to make this game famous in this region and give it the support and recognition that it needs for the young kids to make a living from the game. The sponsors in Malaysia are moving in the right direction to make sure the game grows. Golf in Asia is going to grow in the next few years,” he said.