Hitting off bad lies can have a debilitating effect on scores; for Gaurika Bishnoi the ramifications have been worse. Triggered by extricating the ball from areas normally not ventured into, a longitudinal tear in the right wrist ensured Gaurika’s lockdown extended much after the Women’s Golf Association of India (WGAI) restarted December last.
Sitting out of six events and two-plus months have been the longest in a 11-year career but carried invaluable lessons which showed up once she returned towards the end of February.
Gaurika’s tryst with pain began two seasons back. Hitting low shots off the mat at the Bangalore Golf Club is what she believes triggered the tenderness in the wrist and subsequent attempts to extricate the ball from the rough at practice/tournaments aggravated the condition. Physiotherapy and icing the affected area were in the hope that the “injury would calm down” but did not happen. The phases of calm were interspersed by acute discomfort.
Rustiness, be it fitness or form, after golf restarted made matters worse as the pain refused to settle down. The wrist collapsed in July while hitting off the turf and simply did not respond.
Clearly, the quick-fix measures had not worked. Scans showed a rather long longitudinal tear, and given her profile, plasma therapy was suggested as the way out. Sport had started but virus was raging, and preoccupied doctors and overflowing hospitals delayed recovery. Treatment started after a three-month wait, and the road back was tough. “Every injury tests you as a pro it is tough to miss out,” says Gaurika.
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Sitting out with one eye on recovery through physiotherapy and strengthening the wrist and the other on the Tour in full flow and tracking the fortunes of competitors, it wasn’t easy. Especially, the week in December when players were teeing off and Gaurika was on the practice green of the DLF Golf and Country Club in a statement of intent.
Sharpening the short game at a time when driving off the tee was forbidden has paid off. Gaurika has not made as many clutch putts in her career than in the last three events. Happy with the nickname “short-game maestro”, she is also thankful for the chance to introspect. “I got time to understand where I am and where I want to be. Only when you are pulled away from something that’s dearer than life do you realise what its value,” she says.