Sharmila Nicollet of India, during the ISPS Handa Ladies Masters in 2012
We interviewed Sharmila Nicollet while she was playing one of her last professional events in Asia. Sharmila is currently 146th on the ISPS Handa Order of Merit due to an injury that she is suffering since the start of the season. We asked her about this injury, her game, among other things but obviously, about the tournament that she is playing next week, the Hero Women´s Indian Open. This is what she replied:
How is your injury doing? How would you define this season so far? What have you been doing to recover from it?
The injury has almost healed now. I missed a lot of tournaments this year after having a good start to the season which is always a dampner on a season that you think has potential. As with most stress injuries all one can do is rest which is always hard for a professional sports person. I am on a rehabilitation program with my physio and trainer and I am trying to get back to peak fitness by early next year.
How would you define your current golf?
I've played a few tournaments after my injury in which my performance was inconsistent. It will take some time to get back into rhythm and full game fitness after a 3-4 month layoff. I've been working really hard to shape my game, and I hope it does come back together in the last couple of tournaments on tour.
Tell us about your chances at the Hero Women’s Indian Open this year and your goals on this event
Since it is being played in India, there is a lot of expectation and buzz around the event. I look forward to this tournament, but the idea is to not put any additional pressure on myself. If I can go out there and put together 3 days of consistent golf, I think I will be in contention The goal for the reminder of this year is to try and secure my card for next season, and that's what I hope to achieve. If the process is right, and the hard work is put in, the results will follow.
The venue: Delhi Golf Club. How would you define the course? Does it fit your game?
Not really, because I'm partial towards wider fairways. You need to be very accurate off the tees in such a tight course. But, it is a great challenge, and I have played many times on this course before, so I do have a strategy for it. It is such a historical and beautiful course, and I am sure that it will be great fun.
How do you feel when you play a LET event at your country? Do you feel any extra pressure?
It's always nice to play on home grounds with the home crowd. Obviously there are many expectations from people here which adds a little pressure. I'm going to take it in a positive way and seize the familiarity, confidence and comfort of playing in my country.
Who do you think is favourite to win the event and reason why?
This is a difficult one. The depth in the field is so strong, that anyone can win it really. I would love to be in contention, but as I said, the goal for me is to put the hard work in, take it one shot at a time, and we will see where we end up at come the final afternoon.
Your favourite player of the LET that you have played with and reasons
Laura Davies! Primarily because she loves to hit it far.
Your goal this season
To secure my card for next season.
What would you need to become a top 10 player at the LET? What are you working on?
A top 10 on the European Order of Merit is never an easy task. After having been on tour for a couple of seasons my coach and I have identified a few areas that need work. I have to build a golf swing that is more consistent. I have realized that I need to be a lot more accurate on my approach shots and need to convert more putts. I need to also work on my practice habits which will also help me get there sooner. At this point I feel that my whole game is in transition and all I can do is trust the changes and work harder each year.
Golf in India: How is the situation? Number of players, golf courses and women’s professional. What about the level?
Golf is growing fast in India today. The thing our country lacks is infrastructure, be it in terms of public golf courses, driving ranges, and quality coaching academies. However, golf suits Indians - it is a game of skill, and once there is good infrastructure and support from public and private companies, there is no reason why a billion Indians cannot generate some really top class golfing talent. The womens' game is growing and the Womens' Golf Association of India is doing a great job. Hopefully more tournaments like the Hero Womens' Indian Open can be staged in India to provide a great platform for aspiring young Indian golfers to experience and get inspired to play in these tournaments one day. I am living the dream, and if I can inspire a few other girls to do the same, that would be wonderful.