Chopra set to defend Mercedes title on US Tour

January 8th, 2009 - 5:23 pm ICT by IANS  

Kapalua (Hawaii), Jan 8 (IANS) Daniel Chopra opens his defence of the Mercedes-Benz Championship golf on the US PGA Tour that gets underway this week. Last year Chopra defeated Steve Stricker in a four-hole playoff after the two finished the four days tied at 18-under. The win was Chopra’s second Tour title, with his first coming a few months earlier when he won the 2007 Ginn sur Mer Classic at Tesoro, a Fall Series event.

Chopra has been consistent for last three seasons finishing 54th, 48th and 52nd on the money list and has also qualified for the PGA Tour Playoffs for the FedExCup in each of the first two seasons.

Chopra said: “It’s a lot of fun to come back. The golf course is playing probably more of the way it’s planned. This year it’s a little firmer off the tee, and I think it will play a little bit more the way it normally plays.”

On how the season went in 2008, Chopra added: “Well, the beginning part of the year was pretty good. I played decently for a little bit after that, and I just decided that there were some changes that needed to be made in my golf swing. I got a new coach and started working, and I made some pretty decent changes, and that really affected my golf.

“I was committed to a lot of events at the end of the year, as well. In a way, it was good, because it gave me the time to go ahead and make changes and acclimatize myself to those, as well. Hopefully this year, that will start to click.”

On how the changes have been, he said, “I’m still not 100 percent (done with the changes) but I’m better than I was at the end of the season last year. The little time I had off at home really helped, being able to practice, stress-free golf, and allowed a little confidence to be able to sink in. I’m not far away, and it’s just a matter of, it could be this week or next. It’s getting close.”

As for this time, he said things were the same except for his bag. “No, everything is the same. Except for the defending champion bag I’m carrying this week, a PING bag, all the defending champions carry the black bag.”

Vijay Singh has been paired with Chopra in the first two rounds, but will not island hop to Oahu for next week’s Sony Open.

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