Abhinav Bindra lends some uncle advice to help Karandeep Kochhar clinch maiden golf title

Kochhar picked the Olympic shooting gold medallist’s brain on how to stay calm and that helped him land his maiden PGTI title.

By Rahul Venkat ·

It’s no coincidence that Indian golfer Karandeep Kochhar was unperturbed en route to a maiden pro title on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) last week.

Even as rival Sunit Chawrasia, nephew of veteran SSP Chawrasia, breathed down his neck with a new course record in the final round, Kochhar kept his cool to birdie two of the final three holes and claim the title at the Chandigarh Golf Club, his home turf.

The secret to that calm demeanour is Kochhar’s interactions with a certain Abhinav Bindra. As it turns out, India’s only individual Olympic gold medallist is Kochhar’s maternal uncle.

“He (Bindra) is my mother's cousin. I don't meet him that often as he has a busy schedule but if something bothers me, I always drop him a text or call him,” Karandeep Kochhar revealed in a chat with ESPN.

“I'd spoken to him when I first won the PGTI tour title (as an amateur) three years back. Rifle shooting and golf are two very different sports but one thing they have in common is how calm you need to be. So, he advised me on how to stay calm,” said Kochhar.

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The advice ended a three-year title drought for one of Indian golf’s brightest talents and with someone of Abhinav Bindra’s Olympics legacy in the family, it is understandable that Kochhar wants to reach a similar stage one day.

“I remember seeing the gold medal framed and mounted at his house. It was such a big thing to be able to see it in person,” he said.

Kochhar is currently the fifth-best ranked Indian golfer on the Olympic Golf Rankings (OGR) behind senior pros Rashid Khan, Udayan Mane, close friend Shubhankar Sharma and Shiv Kapur.

The qualification rules stipulate that only the two-best ranked golfers from a country can make it to the Games, so Kochhar’s next big aim is to put himself in the reckoning for an Olympics debut.

“If I continue to do well, I might just be in the race to qualify for the Olympics next year. I don't know if it will happen, but it is something I'm keeping an eye on. I've seen first-hand how special the Olympics are so it would be special to make it there myself," Kochhar concluded.