23-year-old Indian origin Sahith Theegala from Los Angeles, recently became a full-time member on the PGA Tour and addressed the world media through a virtual press conference just after his tied-8th finish at Sandersons Farms Championship in Mississippi.
Sahith answered questions ranging from his Indian origin, his relationship with Anirban Lahiri and Arjun Atwal, how he started golf, his journey to the PGA tour and more.
Born and raised in LA, California, Sahith was raised by his Hyderabad born parents who introduced him to golf when he was 6 years old when he played his first event the Junior Worlds in San Diego. He said, “And it was funny because I never practiced or anything, but I ended up winning that Junior World so that’s when we were like, okay, you know, he could have a potential in this sport. And I was very good when I was young, I kind of tapered away maybe middle school, high school and kind of regained my form college. But I started when I was pretty young. “
Sahith talked about how he decided to turn pro just after graduating in May 2020, despite being eligible for one more year of college golf at Pepperdine University, where he broke all records and was named NCAA Collegiate Player of the Year. He felt like he was ready for the world of professional golf and explained how having least of the expectations had worked out for him. “ I was able to get enough points to make it to Korn Ferry finals and at that point I was just so happy that I made it to Korn Ferry finals that I felt like I had no expectations and that’s been a big thing the past year is like the people close to me, my father, my coach, we’re all just like, hey, you shouldn’t have any expectations, you had nothing to start and all of a sudden you found yourself on the Korn Ferry finals and just kind of having that mindset through that played some of my best golf I ever played at the Korn Ferry finals to get my card. So just having that mindset of not putting any unnecessary pressure or expectations on my shoulders was really big this past year and the progress I’ve made just in my game as well has been great. I feel like every week even if I’m getting .0001 percent better, that’s great, if I can make that progress the rest of my life I’ll be very happy with that.”
Sahith idolised Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els while growing up, but doesn’t believe he has modeled his swing watching any of his idols, “ I don’t really think I’ve modeled my game after anyone just because it’s very similar to anyone’s game. But, yeah, obviously I grew up in the era watching those guys pretty much. “
Later in the interview he was asked about the values he had picked up from his Asian/American heritage, to which Sahith responded that just knowing about his parents journey to the states and how they have managed to raise him and his younger brother, even after going through the hardships they have been through has kept him grounded. “As a person and just to take advantage of any opportunity I can get because again I’m really blessed and thankful that my parents and grandparents put me in this position to be able to succeed. So I think just taking off that looking at any speed bumps in the way is kind of just a means of moving forward, kind of something else that is going to help me progress in life and golf. Yeah, I definitely think that Asian heritage is a big part of why I’ve reached this point.”
Sahith has even once played in India at Boulder Hills Golf Club in Hyderabad with a rental set and wishes that he gets a chance to play in a professional event in India too.