It was not a year for ace Bangladeshi golfer Siddikur Rahman to cherish, especially if his performance is taken into consideration in lucrative Asian Tour circuit where he played 18 tournaments to make it into the top-10 only twice.
His one of the top-two finishes came at home in January when he grabbed second position in Bashundhara Bangladesh Open. Panasonic Open Golf in Japan was the other tournament to save his face in Asian Tour with a ninth-place finish.
Siddik missed the cut in seven tournaments and at times appeared with a very awful performance dropping down to 37th position in Asian Tour Order of Merit, his worst position since 2009.
Siddik could earn just $116,719 (Tk 96lakh approximately) from the Asian Tour this season, which is also his lowest income in eight years here.
His overall income, however, was not affected as he nearly hit the jackpot in a more lucrative European Tour event, Porche European Open in Germany, where he surprisingly finished second in July.
It earned him €112,600 (Tk 1.10 crore approximately), which was more than his income from Asian Tour. Siddik also earned some money (Tk 14.67 lakh) from Professional Golf Tour of India where he claimed his maiden trophy in the year in City Bank American Express Chittagong Open 2017.
It took his overall income to Tk 2.21 crore in the year, which Siddik found not very bad. ‘If you compare my total earning, it is much better than last two years,’ Siddik told New Age on Tuesday. ‘So, I am definitely satisfied with my earning. It’s true that I fall down in the Asian Tour Order of Merit. But I can’t help this. I was struggling with injuries throughout the year and my European Tour earning was not added to my total earning. If it was added to Asian Tour earning then my position could be in top 10.
Siddik, the two-time Asian Tour winner, said injury forced him to pull out from some tournaments like UBS Hong Kong Open after playing first two rounds, which affected his overall standing.
‘I was struggling with the back pain and had to receive treatment from USA and Malaysia. They affected my performance and I skipped some low-money tournament due to injury,’ he said.
Siddik, the first Bangladeshi to get direct entry in Olympics and represent the country in Golf World Cup, couldn’t hide his frustration over lack of sponsor that he said made it difficult for him to bear his huge expenses.
‘Everyone knows that my earning is huge but very little people know that I have to spend a huge amount of money to take part in the tournaments and maintain myself,’ he said.
‘I have to spend at least Tk 1.5 crore per year because I have to pay a notable amount to my Malaysian caddy [Johari Bin Abu Bakar], who is with me since 2010.
‘I have also to pay to my American coach and physical trainer. I have to travel different countries with my caddy and rent five-star standard hotels but I don’t have a sponsor to do it.
‘I represented Bangladesh in the World Cup, Olympic Games. I managed two Asian Tour Titles, six PGTI titles but all of my contribution proved valueless in my country because nobody wants to sponsor me,’ he said.
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