Siddikur Rahman rose to stardom when he became the first Bangladeshi golfer to win an Asian Tour event (Brunei Open in August 2010). Since then, he has been there or thereabouts amongst the top Asians wherever he played, even though he hasn’t managed to win another tour event. Hungry for more success, Siddikur now feels that the time is nigh that he wins another tournament which will also gain him the lead in the Asian Order of Merit, in which he is currently fourth. Amidst his busy tour schedule and the hassles of procuring visas, Siddikur took time off to speak to The Daily Star Sport’s Atique Anam at the Kurmitola Golf Club. Here, he shares his current position, future plans and provides an insight into his life.
DS: What went wrong in Macau?
Siddikur: I flew in for that tournament that very morning. I probably wasn’t fit as well. There was some trouble with my right shoulder which might have affected my performance as well. Hence I failed to make the cut.
DS: You performed very well in the previous event, the Omega Masters in Switzerland where you finished 18th.
Siddikur: Yes, Omega was a good experience for me. Last year when I played there the weather was pretty tough (cold), but this time the weather was fine which is what I think helped me perform.
DS: How difficult is it to cope with different courses?
Siddikur: Courses are more or less similar everywhere. It makes it a little easier if you are accustomed to the course.
DS: What sort of lifestyle or regime do you maintain to keep good form? And what is needed to maintain good form for long periods. What about skills and mental strength?
Siddikur: Well, I maintain discipline, from food to exercise and everything. Physical fitness is the main thing here. If you can keep fitness you can play for up to 50/60 year age or more. Mental strength is something which we all professionals have at this level while skill is honed the more you play.
DS: For all your consistency, you’ve won just one Asian Tour event. Don’t you think that is an understatement of your potential? What could be the reason?
Siddikur: I don’t know the reason myself. I almost won in India this year, but in the end came second. Last year I lost another tour event in Taipei in the play-offs. Hopefully I will win another event pretty soon. I know if I can win another tour, my confidence will get a big boost and that will also get me in the winning habit, and will do a world of good in this year’s Asian Order of Merit.
DS: You were ranked 199th in the world at the end of last year. Now you are 142nd (Oct 4 ranking). Where would you like to be by the end of the year?
Siddikur: If I can continue the way I have played this year,I think I can get into the top 100 which will be a great achievement for me. There are still 6 tournaments left in the tour this year, and I have ample opportunity to up my ranking.
DS: What is your ultimate target?
Siddikur: My target is to get into the European tour. There are two options to get there, either you win an Asian-European co-sanctioned tour or you go through the qualifying tournament which will be held in Spain this year. I have enrolled in that tournament. I will have to be in the top 40 to qualify.
DS: What do you plan to do once you retire, say 15/20 years from now?
Siddikur: I don’t intend to retire. I want to continue playing the game throughout the rest of my life.
DS: You are probably the highest earning sportsperson in the country. Now that the game has given you so much, do you have any plans at any time to do something for the game in the country, for example, setting up a golfing academy?
Siddikur: Well, that is possible anytime if there is support from the government. There must be some space here or somewhere else needed for that. There, I can share my experience with the new golfers which might help them.
DS: What do you think has helped you come this far?
Siddikur: Kurmitola Golf Club is one that is responsible to take us thus far. Maybe my perseverance was greater than others which helped me surpass them.
DS: What is the most memorable experience of your career?
Siddikur: Winning in Brunei is the most memorable, because winning an Asian tour event in such a short time was special. Last year I played along with the top golfers in the world in the CIMB championship which was also a good experience for me.
DS: If you were not a golfer, what would you have been?
Siddikur: Well, I had the desire to study. I was only 7 when I came here (Kurmitola Golf Club), so I didn’t have any future plans at that age. But once I started to play in 1999, I took it seriously and now I’m not thinking anything except golf.
DS: You are 27 now. Any plans of getting married soon?
Siddikur: My family is egging me on to get married. But I’m not sure I want to do that at the moment. Because you never know, it might distract me a bit in my performance. It might not as well. But then again, I think I’ll take some more time.
Courtesy of The Daily Star