The Loop

Meet the European Tour winner who turned pro with a set of borrowed, used golf clubs

March 31, 2016

Jason Day re-told the story of how his father found his first golf club in a garbage dump on the most recent episode of Feherty. But recent Hero Indian Open winner Shiv Shankar Prasad Chawrasia has an even crazier story when it comes to humble golf equipment beginnings.

Chawrasia (who is the "SSP" you see on leader boards every so often at majors and world golf championships) grew up near Royal Calcutta Golf Club, where his father was a groundskeeper. His first clubs were ones discarded by members there and when he turned pro in 1997, he had only upgraded to a borrowed set of used clubs from a friend.

Incredibly, even after turning pro, it took a year for Chawrasia to be able to buy a new driver to add to this borrowed set. A newer driver, that is, since it was bought used.

A decade later, Chawrasia's breakthrough victory at the 2008 Indian Maters when he beat a field that included Ernie Els and Thomas Bjorn. His next European Tour win came at the 2011 Avantha Masters, but even though the 37-year-old now plays with fancy new equipment, his journey hasn't been without its struggles in recent years.

Chawrasia arrived at his home country's premier event in a five-year winless drought and with no full-time status on the European Tour. He had also become the Phil Mickelson of India with four runner-up finishes and no wins in his national open, including blowing a seven-shot lead to countryman Anirban Lahiri last year. But Chawrasia held off Lahiri this year to win $276,000, earn his European Tour card for the next three years, and all but wrap up a spot -- along with Lahiri -- to represent his country at the Olympics this summer. Not bad for someone who as a young tour would have been happy to win just a new wedge.

"This win means so much to me," Chawrasia told reporters in India after. "I don’t know how I will celebrate it. I will let my wife do that for me. Last year when I lost, she was crying so now we can both enjoy this victory together."