The woes of the golf circuit

Updated: Apr 29 2007, 05:34am hrs
Life on the road week after week can get a bit lonely ask any professional sportsmen. However, it was interesting to read in Daniel Chopras blog on the PGA Tour website that he and his wife Samantha have adopted a dog who now travels with them each week.

While a lot people are passionate about petsJack Nicklaus had a beautiful Golden Retriever named Cali while Greg Normans Labrador Retriever Foster formed his familyfew actually make life changing decisions to include them in their travel. But as Daniel and Samantha have proved it is worth making that little adjustment as animals give back so much in return.

Today dogs are used in every walk of life, from diagnosis of diseases to therapy. I remember growing up in Chandigarh where a Golden Retriever named Rover actually came to caddie for his master each afternoonhe pulled his golf cart and not surprisingly, his master never lost a golf ball and no one could ever leave the golf course with his golf ball in his pocket.

But back to professional golfers, who have one of the loneliest lives amongst their contemporary sportsmen. They travel all over the world, often to places in the heart of the countryside, where one can only et by taxi, as I learnt while trying to catch up with Jeev Milkha Singh when he was playing on the European Tour in the late nineties.

It is no wonder that the Asian Tour was regarded as family when it started out, as it was a small community and almost the same players traveled to all the tournaments. But all that too has changed. With over 200 professionals playing the Asian Tour qualifying each year, the number of players traveling and playing various tours around the world has considerably risen.

While professional golfers seem to have an enviable glamorous lifestyle, traveling to exotic destinations for almost 20-30 weeks in a year, the truth is somewhat different. Their travel is dictated by tournaments, so they play in over 40 degrees centigrade or freezing temperatures.

Add to that the fact that travel is only getting tougher and golf bags are heavy equipment to carry around. As a result most players have to be really physically fit to endure the strain. So even though its an enviable life at the top where they earn exorbitant salaries for playing a sport they love, it is still hard work. A lot of sacrifices by the players and their families is just one of the secrets behind their success.