December 19, 2009

What happened to Odoh dominance?

There was a time Oche Andrew Odoh was tellingly beating up the whole lot of the nation’s professional at any point he felt like it. The whole thing reached such crescendo it was being suggested in some golf quarters that the player could  indeed be playing his fellow pros with a blindfold on.

Oche was winning about every tourney and he was  enjoying every minute on the course. He would play some games in Nigeria and move over to South Africa anytime crucial tourneys came on. Within this period, Oche alongside Gboyega Oyebanji even hit Malaysia to represent Nigeria in the World Cup of golf.

FUTURE PLANS: Andrew Oche Odoh points the way forward during a tournament in Malaysia. With him is Gboyega Oyebanji. Oche has found the going tough in Nigeria.

Then came the sharp slide, without any notice. At first, it was like Oche was deliberately having a time-off so some other pros could win a game or two. But when the lad could not notch a win in some five consecutive tourneys, it became apparent something was amiss. In no time, too, he soon crashed out from the top of the order of merit and another crash from being the nation’s number one golfer.

Golf fans quickly poured home emotion and concern. How could the champ everyone feared like sin suffered such free-fall? . At first, he thought his swings had gone awry and in need of a ‘band-aid’ if he could not change it immediately.

At another point, he thought his equipment that won him several events must have gone obsolete. He was there almost helpless thinking between changing swings and equipment. All the while, needed confidence, a major tool in competitive golf was sapping away from his being. Whatever could be happening to the Champ?

On the golf course, no golfer possesses the undiluted confidence of Oche. With a deliberate bounce on his legs, he would attempt all manner of shots, no matter how tight the course is.  Unknown to all, another dynamite of a golfer, Edet Umoh had another thinking coming. Edet was at his best in Otukpo that he poured in such divine golf that made Odoh and some other 100 pro golfers that teed off at the event lookn small. Umoh carded a massive 13-under in the four day event. On the other hand, Oche crashed badly and it became obvious that something was truly wrong with the Champ.

Interestingly, the Champ maintains he’s intact and there should be no cause for alarm.
“I can be number one again”, he said after the Otukpo game. “I have confidence in myself and that is a big booster in golf.

Okay I might not have to won all the time but then I shouldn’t be throwing games away the way I am doing lately. I figure it could be down to my swing but then I can’t just change this immediately. Again I had to take another look at my equipment and I know I am going to change this. In fact I will be off to South Africa to get some clubs customized for me.

“All the same I can say nothing is totally wrong with my game. I still beat the balls long and staight. I chip okay and my putting isn’t bad either. Things are just changing a bit. It doesn’t bother me. I know I can retain my spot anytime I want.”

This could be true for Oche has got some game in him. On the other side this could sound like the beer-fuelled bravado of a man who has lost his mind and waitnig eagerly for someone to help him find. But one thing anyone cannot hand to Oche in a hurry is his top spot.