Bengaluru, 12 Aug 2018

Viraj Madappa Interview

This is what the newly-crowned TAKE Solutions Masters champion Viraj Madappa had to say in his interview soon after his win:

I am really surprised. It hasn’t really sunk in yet and I’m feeling a lot of emotions. I don’t know which one to feel. I don’t know what to say. It’s been a roller-coaster since I came through the Qualifying School. I was playing good golf then but I went through a slump after that.
A lot of hard work at that point of time. I really worked hard with my coach and my whole team, just to keep me going. I am very happy that I did all the work I could to win today. It has paid off.
It’s incredible really. My family has been very supportive. My mum is here with me today. It was great to see all the kids from the academy out here today. They were all like between six to 15 years old. They were probably the loudest in the crowd. You could tell it was them in the crowd.
I was riding off their energy. Winning the tournament did cross my mind when I birdied the 16th hole but I was just trying to stay in the presence and hit every shot I could the right way. I think I did a good job there. I didn’t back off from the situation, even though I had the opportunity to lay up on 18th hole. I decided to go for the green and I’m proud that I made that decision.
I am going back home to Kolkata to celebrate with my family tonight and spend some time at home. I wasn’t looking at the leaderboard on the 18th. I only looked at it before I chipped. I was aggressive with that chip. I knew I had a two-shot lead then but I felt relieved after chipping it back to the green.
It’s been a tough journey. A lot of hard work has been put in from all members of my team. I had a good feeling on the 15th tee box. I was one shot back at that point. I can’t explain but I just felt very good and very confident. I kind of knew it was my day right then.
I was -15 on the back nine and one-under-par on the front-nine. I was talking to my coach after the round yesterday and we were discussing if I could get off to some kind of a good start on the front nine. The back nine holes really suits my eyes.
It was really tough on the front nine. It was very windy. I just quite stressed actually but I was just trying to hit good shots. When Vincent eagled the 10, I knew he was three shots ahead but felt it was alright because I still have my birdie putt and I have been playing well on the back nine. Furthermore, there are still a lot more holes to go.
I just had to keep doing what I have been doing over the weekend and I will be fine. It turned out nicely for me. I really got a good feeling heading to the 15th tee box. I honestly thought I will be seriously nervous because I had a terrible sleep last night.
I think it was just the energies from the crowd, the kids from the academy, that made the difference today. They were so supportive. My game plan was the same for the last three days. It was just a combination of everything.
I think we have a lot of great players on the international Tours. It’s just a matter of time before we all start performing on the bigger stage. Through the week, I made some very good club decisions. I didn’t back off even until the last hole.
I moved to Bengaluru recently and it definitely felt like home ground to me. A lot of people came out to watch me too. The crowd support was incredible. I just felt like it was my day. I switched my coach in 2016, just before I went to the United States for college.
We had a lot to work on. It’s been a lot of work and the last time we discuss, it wasn’t going to work if I stay in Calcutta playing events. I was not going to see him so I decided to move to Bengaluru and work on my game from the academy here.
I haven’t been home to Calcutta for almost three to four months now. I think it was a big decision and sacrifice that we were willing to make but it has been successful with this win. We still have a lot of work to do but it just gives us a lot of positives as we are working in the right direction.
My coach and I had a lot to work on. I was really disconnected my swing. I was just trying to get the swing sequence right and get the club in position. I have gotten better with that and more consistent as well.

This win will definitely change my schedule for the rest of the year. I don’t know where I will be playing now. But it’s a relief that I have secured my card for next year as well and I will be getting to a lot of bigger events.
The satisfaction that you’re doing the right thing. Coming off the qualifying School, I didn’t think I was good enough. But the efforts have definitely paid off now. I spent a semester which is about four months in Texas and I came back here. I didn’t have a good time over there. I learned a lot of golf myself. But I wouldn’t say the experience didn’t help.
I think the most invaluable experience that I have had before this week was at the All India Amateur Championship in 2012. I played with Shubhankar Sharma the whole week and I lost to him. I knew at that point of time that I want to do this for the rest of my life.
It’s good just knowing that I could perform under that pressure. End of 2015, it was a very difficult period of time for me. My scoring average was about 75 to 76 and it was the time when I was really questioning myself.
I think it was just from that time that I started working really very hard. That period of tough time has helped me learn a lot.

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