CHENNAI: Having started the year ranked 1,925 in the world, Viraj Madappa in all probability would have taken it had he been told that he would move up to 370 in 10 months. A maiden title on the Asian Tour in Bengaluru in August followed by a fourth-place finish at another event in Chinese Taipei have propelled him to a career-best position.
Talking to the 20-year-old, one gets a feeling that he is not satisfied despite making sure that he plays on the Asian Tour next year by winning that title. Even though he was not expecting this rise, the player who grew up in Kolkata before shifting to Bengaluru feels he has not been that good. Reason? Madappa says on the mental front he has lots of catching up to do.
“There were positives from those two weeks when I did well. Maybe the good results show that I am heading in the right direction. But, I wasn’t as consistent as I would want to be. I have to be able to deliver the goods for longer periods. It’s the mental aspect that I have to work on,” Madappa told Express from Singapore on Monday.
A closer look at his performance explains what he is trying to say. In the 15 events this year, mostly on the Asian Tour, he missed the cut in eight. Other than the two events mentioned, he managed just two more top-20 finishes. For someone playing his first full year on the international circuit, it could have been satisfactory. But not for him.
“It’s the mental part that makes the difference between a good performance and a middling performance. I have been working with a meditation guru from Kolkata (Varuna Shunglu) for the last year or so. If golf broadly has two aspects, I’m alright on the physical front. The mental side is what I have to work on,” said the only Indian to have won a maiden international event this year.
It’s not uncommon to see golfers seeking this kind of help to be in the best shape psychologically. Anirban Lahiri has gone on record saying how he benefited from a kind of meditation called Vipassana. There are others also who consult psychologists.
Going that extra yard to fine-tune his game is a trait he has shown since his young days. His first coach and mentor Indrajit Bhalotia remembers this. “I tell students to maintain a daily log book on how they are doing while playing tournaments. Viraj is perhaps the only one who has done it religiously. He used to come for golf classes at 5.30 before going to school. This dedication sets him apart.”