Among the things Siddikur Rahman came to be fond of while growing up in the vicinity of Dhaka's Kurmitola Golf Club was red meat. That was till he was laid low by a lower back injury, which threatened to cut short his career soon after he won the Indian Open in 2013. The 34-year-old had lived with pain long enough to know that changing ways was the only route back to the golf course.
Hence, the scene at breakfast on Saturday before Siddikur set out for the Classic Golf and Country Club. He shot a five-under 67 to take his two-day score at the Panasonic Open to eight-under 136, two shy of Shiv Kapur and the other leaders. Seated in the vicinity of cold cut platters, Siddikur's meal comprised of a bowl of fresh fruits and some fat-free yogurt. Even if there was temptation to reach out for a piece of Mortadella, Siddikur gave little away.
Allowed the occasional waiver, Siddikur had picked up two small pieces of mutton minus the rice on Friday night at the ongoing Hyderabadi food festival in the official hotel. Biryani is a traditional favourite but Siddikur declared he would never go out of the way and order one. "Inflammatory food items like aerated drinks, junk food and red meat are out," said Siddikur. The stress fracture while working out in July 2014 stirred him and led to a change in lifestyle that's centered around keeping the L4, L5 area pain free.
Off golf for three months and confined to the bed most of the time, Siddikur made an unsuccessful comeback in September only to delay recovery.
The win at the Delhi Golf Club was his second win on the Asian Tour and Siddikur looked hungry enough. The pain of losing out on time and perhaps more titles has eased—"a negative mindset would have pulled me down", and the perspective has shifted to the positives following the incident. "But for the injury, I would not have done what I am doing," said Siddikur. Almost self-taught, it was analyzed that his unconventional swing had weakened the lower back and working out aggravated the problem. With experts on board, Siddikur has changed his swing and the diet is monitored. Getting comfortable with the changes has taken time and in the interim a flare-up forced him to pull out in Hong Kong two years ago after making cut.
Saturday was one of the days when he felt comfortable swinging his clubs the new way, and the gain in distance is counted as a bonus. With a handful of strong finishes, including a second in this event last year and a win on the Indian tour, Siddikur believes in karma. "There is a time for everything and mine will come, God willing, provided I keep doing what's expected of me," he said.