Sentosa: From working as a ball boy in Dhaka to becoming a two-time Asian Tour champion and Olympian, Siddikur Rahman’s rise in professional golf is truly a classic rags to riches tale.
The Bangladeshi history-maker is a quintessential example of how relentless hard work and perseverance pays off, and his success now inspires hundreds of young golfers in his homeland and across the region.
Siddikur is widely heralded in Bangladesh as a national golf hero and it is a title that fits the trailblazing 32-year-old. He was the first Bangladeshi to play on the Asian Tour in 2009, and also the first to win a title at the 2010 Brunei Open.
He then became the first golfer to represent his nation at the World Cup of Golf in 2013 but the greatest accomplishment came last year when he became the first athlete from Bangladesh to qualify for the Olympic Games on merit. He was duly given the honour of being the contingent’s flagbearer in the opening ceremony in Rio.
Siddikur’s incredible journey, which includes a second victory at the 2013 Hero Indian Open, started from humble beginnings. When he was seven, he worked at the nearby Kurmitola Golf Club to help ease his family’s financial burden by paying for his own education.
At the golf course, Siddikur would watch and observe other club golfers, learning and mimicking their swings. He created his first club with just a metal rod and an old seven iron head that he bought for 50 cents.
Even after fortuitous situations enabled Siddikur to turn professional, he still struggled with participating in tournaments because of the hefty travel expenses. Fortunately for him, the Kurmitola Golf Club provided financial assistance for his initial expenditure and his efforts soon paid off when a 19th-place finish at the 2009 Indian Open netted him US$14,875 which launched his career in Asia.
Siddikur is appreciative of where he was in life previously and where he is right now in his career, cherishing his time on the Asian Tour which he regards fondly as his second home.
“Without the Asian Tour, I don’t know where I would be,” said Siddikur during the filming of the second phase of the Asian Tour’s digital #whereitsAT campaign.
“The Asian Tour staff and players are like my second family. When I go to a tournament, I feel really great that my second home is here and that we are all very close to each other even though I’m out of my country and home.”
Although being at the pinnacle of the region’s premier golf circuit with a large fan base may lead some players to feel comfortable, Siddikur is continuously trying to better himself.
“The Asian Tour is my platform to perform and prove myself. With the way I’m working, I think I’ll be able to go far,” he said.
“Many of the players like Anirban Lahiri, Thongchai Jaidee and KJ Choi have gone through the Asian Tour, and they proved themselves and are moving up. I’m looking forward to the day that I will reach there.”