Smriti Mehra of India during the second round at the Lalla Meryem Cup 2013
Smriti, “Simi” Mehra is currently the top ranked Indian player on the LET order of merit and one of the most popular professional golf players in India. With an exceptional amateur career, Smriti started to play golf aged 12 and is the 1993 Malaysian National champion and the 1994 India National Stroke Play and Match Play champion, among other titles. She turned professional in 1994 and her career highlights include 11th place at the 1999 Weetabix Women's British Open.
Simi will be playing in the Hero Women’s Indian Open one more time and we will see her in action there from the 28th November. This is what she said in preparation of the tournament:
What are your feelings about playing in the Hero Women’s Indian Open at Delhi Golf Club?
> It's really exciting as I won my first National amateur title at The Delhi Golf Club . I have some of my best memories while playing on this golf course, so honestly speaking I am really looking forward to it....
How many times have you played the course and with what success?
> I have played countless times at the DGC (commonly referred to by the members) and I have won several times on this Golf course. My coach Nonita Lal Too has graduated from being a very successful amateur to one of the top leading teachers in the country from the DGC.
What are your personal goals and expectations for this tournament?
> Expectations are none , I have played enough to know that I shouldn't expect anything, but I do have some small goals , keep it on the fairway and hit many greens....
How do you rate your own chances?
> As long as I keep my thoughts on the small goals, the rest takes care of itself.
What aspects of your game will need to be sharp?
> My Mind....just working on being calm .....
What new experiences can the LET players expect in Delhi?
> Fabulous food , beautiful golf course and the best hospitality....
What are your recommendations for visitors to see and do?
> I think there are several sights to visit, such as the India gate, it's quite unique as it's in the heart of the city and one of the old traditional places to go shopping for traditional Indian handicraft would be Dilli Haat. The Qutb Minar is another place that is worth a trip, it's local and convenient and has a lot of history attached to it.
I understand you live closer to DLF. Did you ever live in Delhi or do you have any close ties with the city?
> My brother lived in Delhi for several years, infact he got married in Delhi. I am originally from Calcutta , but Delhi is now my second home.
What are your views on the development of new talent in India?
> Accessibility and infrastructure is what we lacked growing up, but now with everything at our fingertips, golf is booming in India. The new talent is well informed and the support structure in definitely growing. We just need to break into the common mans mindset, we need to introduce the average Indian to golf and there will be no stopping the number of talented and world class golfers this country is capable of producing.
What is being done, what are you personally doing in regards to coaching etc?
> I am more of a mentor than a coach. I have a few kids I help in Calcutta, but I haven't settled on what my next role in golf/life is......still have a few personal goals to accomplish before I decide on the next step.
Any new names to watch out for such as Aditi Ashock last year?
> I think Vani Kapoor will definitely be one of the Indian Professionals to look out for. She is young, motivated and consistent. Neha Tripathi is the other player who has won several times on the Indian Tour and is raring to go.
Best of luck Simi!!