Chandigarh: India`s ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, whose nagging back injury had an adverse affect on his form and pushed him down the ranking chart, said he owes it to yoga to revive his career in golf.
"If I was not doing yoga, I don`t think I would be playing golf. Yoga has helped me a lot," Jeev said.
Jeev, who will be flying to London on Sunday to play in the Czech Open, has seven weeks of packed action coming up that will see him play tournaments in Scotland, Switzerland, Holland and Macau, and two tournaments in Japan and Dubai, which are flagship tournaments for European Tour.
Jeev, who is currently holidaying in his home town, said sometimes one discovers the importance of Indian traditional exercises like yoga only after having travelled around the globe.
"Everything is going back to the old ways now. Even the modern study that the people are doing on vibrant shoes, its like you are walking bare feet. I feel yoga is the best thing for a human being specially when you are playing a game like golf," the 39-year-old golfer said.
Explaining how demanding golf can be for the back and how he has been training hard to avoid further injuries and stay fit, Jeev said, "(In yoga) you stretch the right muscle, do meditation and physical therapy. My trainer has helped me do a lot of training to strengthen my core. If your core is strong, back will be okay.”
"Playing golf puts constant pressure on your back. Can you imagine that in a day you are turning it at least 300 times on an average under different climatic conditions. But that`s part of this sport and I love doing that. I am doing a lot of yoga, strengthening my back and once I improve, I will start weight training also," he said.
Jeev said his father, the legendary athlete Milkha Singh, also gives him tips to stay fit.
"Dad always helps me out. Like any father would tell his child, he tells me to work hard and tells me to stay on top, especially at this age when you have achieved something, it is important to work all the more harder. Right guidance from him has really helped me."
The three-time winner on the European tour said he had decided to cut down on tournaments.
"I used to play 40-45 tournaments earlier, but I have cut down to around 35 now to stay fit. Playing in Europe, a little bit of Japan and few in Asia, that`s what my focus will be," he said when asked about his decision to give up playing on the US Tour.
"I am a member (US tour). I have got a medical (exemption)," he added.
On his current world ranking of 206, Jeev said he was looking to break into the top 100 once again by the year end.
"Yes, for sure (improve ranking). Last two weeks were good. In Ireland, I was leading (he finished 11th after leading on the first two days), unfortunately I had two bad drives. But now I am looking forward to the upcoming seven weeks," he said.
Last year, Jeev had to opt out of the Indian Open due to the back problem while his shoulder also gave him trouble and the Indian ace said he is working hard to strengthen his shoulder.
"My arms and shoulders are sore because I did a lot of work with my trainer. But I have taken two weeks off and have rested enough. Now I hope to stay fit for seven weeks and try to make most of it."
Speaking about Tiger Woods` comeback, Jeev said, "I think it is fantastic for the game. Obviously, he has gone through a lot in his life, but I believe he`s going to make a strong comeback. He has always been a winner, I am sure he is going to be back with a bang."