Seasoned professional Smriti Mehra has always been a motherly figure to the young Indian golfers. For the 40-year-old veteran, there’s no letting up as she is also involved in charity work: collecting clothes, shoes, golf equipment and other basic necessities to give to caddies in Calcutta who have a bright prospect in making it big on the professional scene.
“I give my undivided attention to both golf and charity and my presence here for the Hero Women’s India Open is a good example of my passion for golf and my keenness in helping our budding juniors to understand how to be a good golfer and an ambassador to the sport,” said Mehra after playing the morning Pro-Am at the DLF Country Club on Thursday.
“My target is to play my game and if that can lead me to win the Hero Women’s India Open beginning tomorrow (Friday), then it would be great. I would love to win it here. I have always supported Indian golf. Even when I was playing on the US LPGA, I made a point of returning to play on the Indian Tour,” said Mehra.
She added that she also wanted to do something good for humanity. A member of the board of Golf Foundation – a registered charitable society formed in 1995, Mehra said: “I want to one day set up a facility that anybody, irrespective of what demographic of society they come from, can walk in for help and guidance. So when I’m off golf, I ask friends and people to donate whatever items they want to give away, like clothes, shoes, golf equipment and so forth so that I can help the less fortunate and turn them into successful people.”
“I’m 40 and going strong. So there’s no letting up in golf. I want to stand proudly on the top podium holding aloft the trophy. Age is only a number. Julie Inkster, I think, won the US Women’s Open at the age of 50 and 49-year-old Laura Davies who will also be my playing partner is going places and finishing among the top,” said Mehra.
She said this year’s Hero India Women’s Open, that offers a prize purse of US$300,000, has attracted past winners like Pornanong Phatlum, and several winners from the LET such as defending champion Caroline Hedwall of Sweden, Laura Davies, Cassandra Kirkland, Carly Booth and Karen Lunn.
They are joined by winners from the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) such as Nontaya Srisawang, Yoopan Tiranun and Numa Gulyanamitta of Thailand.
“So you see the field is strong and I’m not prepared to put a figure as to how I will finish though I want to on the winners’ rostrum,” Mehra said.