Just as Thailand has adopted Tiger Woods as an honorary representative through his Thai mother, Nepal is proud to have its own rising star making waves in the European Golf circuit.
Sean Navin Shrestha Einhaus turned 14 last week, and he was inspired to take up golf by his German father, Remigius, and elder brother, Rene Vijay, both of whom are good golfers. Sean's first feel of a golf club was when he was three, here in Nepal. By the time he was six, he was playing regularly.
Today he is a scratch golfer, meaning he has a handicap of zero, a feat few ever attain and something very rare at this young age. This past year he was ranked Germany's top under-16 player, a remarkable feat for a 13-year-old, considering the high level of competition in Europe.
When he recently won the 14 and under 14 German Championship, his scores were so good (a superb round of 3 under par 69), that he beat the older boys as well. Today he has won more national championships at Junior levels than anyone in the country has ever done before. He is the youngest player to ever be in the German National team.
Eight grader Sean goes to school at seven in the morning and returns at half past one. Three times a week he takes to the autobahns on a 110 km journey for three hours of golf training. On top of that he spends every weekend at the golf course, either practicing or playing tournaments.
Sean says, "My father and mother have given me the access to all the things that I need to be a successful golfer. They have been very supportive and I am determined to be Number One in the world one day." Following his ambition, he leaves this month for Florida for an intensive golf training program, which includes playing tournaments in the United States-the country with the highest pressure and most competitive levels of golf in the world.
"I want to be World No 1"
Sean Navin Shrestha Einhaus was in Kathmandu last week and thrilled local golfers by shooting great scores of 67 and 68 at Gokarna Golf Club-an incredible phenomenon for a lad just turned 14. Our golf columnist, Deepak Acharya snatched the opportunity for a candid interview. Sean answered each question with the concentration and seriousness required for judging the yardage left to the hole for a match winning shot.
Deepak Acharya: How do you manage your game?
Sean Navin Shrestha Einhaus: I practice a lot, I go to the fitness centre three times a week and I also do a lot of stretching within a yoga program. In today's competitive golf, you need to be extremely fit to compete, as this is part of the high mental toughness required.
How many events did you win last year?
Well, I had bit of success in the tournaments last year. Most notably I won the 14 and under German Championship and my team, the Northen Wastfalen, won the German title also. I was the youngest player (13 years old) to ever be in that team. And I won the Northern Wastefalen (state) championship for ages up to 16 with the score of 72 and 68 in the Hubbelrath golf course, where big names like Vijay Singh and Seve Ballesteros have won.
How supportive are your parents?
They have been extremely supportive. In fact both of them play golf and arrange all the facilities for me. They are there all the time and give me access to what I need to become a successful golfer.
What needs to be done to get more youth in Nepal interested in the game of golf?
To encourage more youth to be in the game, I feel that golf should be part of extra curricular school activities for easier access to the game. Otherwise, it seems too expensive and they never get started.
What do you think existing young golfers in Nepal should do to improve their game?
Mainly, hard work. On top of that, good practice facilities, like good driving ranges, chipping and putting greens, etc. And then, play as many tournaments as possible.
What are your own goals?
Short-term or longterm? Short-term: play two German championships, win 1st division and bring my handicap to +2. Longterm-to play the US PGA (Professional Golf Association) Tour, win several Majors, top the money list and be No 1 in the world.
Who is your idol?
Tiger Woods for his personality, Shigeki Maruyama for always smiling, and Ernie Els for his swing.
Who was your first trainer?
(Smiles) Deepak Acharya from Nepal.