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Preview Interview at the Hero Indian Open 2017: Defending champion, SSP Chawrasia

Ahead of the start of the Indian Open, SSP Chawrasia offered his perspective on his title defence and the course conditions

Exclusive 08 Mar 2017, 16:44 IST
NEW DELHI, INDIA - MARCH 08:  Defending Champion S.S.P Chawrasia of India poses for a picture during the pro am prior to the start of the Hero Indian Open at Dlf Golf and Country Club on March 8 2017 in New Delhi, India.  (Photo by Stuart Franklin/Getty Images)
SSP Chawrasia is not concerned by the shift in venue and is bullish about his chances at the 2017 edition

Q. How does it feel to defend your title at a different course this week?

It’s totally different compared to DGC. A few holes are really tough but it’s tough for everyone. I’m going to give it 100%, that’s all I can do.

Q. Do you recall the emotions of winning last year?

I was runner up four times and I was a bit frustrated as I have to win the tournament. The national Open is like our fifth major and finally I won it last year and got the trophy. I’m going to give it my best and hopefully I can carry the trophy again.

Q. What are the biggest contrasts between DGC and DLF and what do you need to do here to score?

The greens and fairways are a little bit tricky. You have to place the ball at the right spots. that’s the trick. Next few days, that’s what I want to do. 

Q. Your first title was at this club although the course was different. Talk a little bit about that.

I have a lot of good memories here. One thing is different that we’re on a different course. I’m thinking I’ll just replay all my good memories.

Q. A great year in 2016 with two wins, Olympics and the World Cup. What are you looking forward to in 2017?

Last year waas a great year, it was my best year of my career. I’m trying to do better in 2017. It’s still the start of the year it’s only my fifth tournament and I’m happy with how things are.

Q. Was it important to win for the first time abroad in Phillippines last year?

I have won four times in India and it waas good to win outside of my country. That’s now out of the way and now I can just keep playing better and there’s one less pressure now on me.

Q. What are the key holes here?

17 and 18 will be the tough holeshere. They are very tricky. If you hit a good shot, it’s no guarantee where your ball will go. I used a six irona nd four iron off the 17th tee, both hit the fairway. The main thing is the second shot as the green is elevated and it’s hard to stop the shot on the green.

Q. Thoughts about the tournament this year?

I think it’s the same every year. The only thing is we have Rafa Cabrera Bello here but I don’t think one player will make thee whole tournaent tough. i like to play challenging courses and against a challenging field. After two rounds, I’ll have a better idea as to how to play the course.

Q. Gary Player, the course designer, reckons 14 under could win the tournament. what do you think?

I don’t think so (laughs). I think it’ll be below 10 under. 

Q. Does it feel different coming back as a defending champion?

The only thing different is that we’re on a different course. But I’ve won another tournament here. Let’s see how it goes. There are a lot of positive things. Let’s just play the first two rounds and see how we play the last to rounds.

Q. You’ve had a long and successful career. Has your life changed?

I’ve seen most of the world but I’m still the same person. I’mm happy with 2016 and I’m trying to do better. I’m not doing anything different but my goal is bigger. If I achieve it, maybe I can do something.

Q. Your general view about DLF?

This is a tough course, if we play here more oftern, we’ll get used to it It’s a diffrent course. I’ve played a lot abroad but this totally different. I don’t think there’s home advantage as it’s a new course for most of us. DGC is also a tough course but we’ve played there so many times and we know how to play it. That’s why Indians always play wella t DGC.

Q. How much of an influence has Hero MotoCorp been for golf in India?

Mr. Pawan Munjal has done many good things. hero has been supporting this event and every year it’s getting bigger and bigger. Hopefully it’ll continue to grow.

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