DORAL, Fla. – It wouldn’t be a true “world” golf championship if different corners of the globe weren’t represented, which explains why the Cadillac Championship did its job once again. The field at Doral’s Blue Monster not only featured the planet’s best golfers, but it also showcased some talented players who rarely get a chance for the spotlight.
Case in point: The diminutive S.S.P. Chowrasia. Talk about guys who are willing to travel, “Chipputtsia,” as he is called, still lives in Calcutta. That makes for a demanding travel schedule to European Tour tournaments, but it hasn’t stopped him from carving out a decent career.
Playing in the World Golf Championship at Doral for a second time, Chowrasia – and we’ll tell you his name is Shiv Shankar Prasad, hence S.S.P. – finished joint 49th. Not quite as well as he would have liked, but Chowrasia left with an even greater determination to play in the U.S. full time.
“I’m trying to get better on the European Tour,” he said. “Then come over here.”
Second case in point: Thomas Aiken, a South African who showed off a pretty good game two years ago at Doral (T-7), but admittedly dragged a bit this time around (T-35).
Aiken, who got in via his second-place finish on the Sunshine Tour money list, was playing on the eve of a vacation that he claims is long overdue. Though pro golf may go into hibernation in the U.S. come the late fall and early winter, that’s when South Africans such as Aiken get busy. There are Sunshine Tour tournaments in November and December, then European PGA Tour events in January.
From Doral, Aiken was headed to the Caribbean and his longest vacation (nine days) in four years. He’ll then return to South Africa and take off a total of seven weeks.
“The first three weeks (will be spent) with physical training, and my clubs will be put away,” he said. “Then for four weeks I’ll practice quite hard.”
Aiken will be back in the U.S. for The Memorial in early June, but until then, “It will be a bit of time off to try and rejuvenate myself.”