Danny Chia in a file photo. After six months of rehab, Danny is eager to get fit in time for the Maybank Malaysian Open.
KUALA LUMPUR: A six-month layoff from the sport has whetted the appetite of professional golfer Danny Chia to make a swinging return to his favourite tournament – the Maybank Malaysian Open from April 17-20 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
The 41-year-old Danny is slowly returning to competitive tournament after undergoing surgery for a career-threatening shoulder injury last September.
“I had been suffering from the stiff neck and shoulder problem for three years but I somehow managed to play on,” said Danny.
“But last year I couldn’t bear the pain anymore. I couldn’t even lift my arm ... so, I went for an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan. Based on the report, I knew I had to go for surgery if I wanted to save my career.”
Danny, who is the only Malaysian to have played in all four rounds of the British Open in 2010, said that his mission now is to be fit – physically and mentally – for the home tournament, which he has been a regular of for more than a decade.
Danny has always been considered the best local golfer and someone who has a chance of becoming the country’s first home champion, although he has allowed pressure to get to him on many occasions.
Despite the struggle to live up to expectations, Danny has always looked forward to the Malaysian Open – and it’s no different this time.
“The six months that I was out were tough, especially for a guy like me ... who used to travel so much for tournaments. I missed golf a lot,” said Danny.
“I did nothing much except spend more time on rehab. I worked on regaining the lost muscles in my right arm. It was a long and tedious process but I’m glad to be back on the course now.”
So eager was Danny to return to the greens that he took a shorter time than many to get back on his feet.
He has already taken part in two local tournaments this year – the Sabah Masters and the I&P Tournament of Champions.
And, according to him, everything is going as planned.
“I’m at the stage where I’m re-building my game and trying to get back the feel of playing in tournaments. I didn’t do that well in the last two local tournaments but they did give me some indication of where I stand.
“It’s too early to make any conclusions on how far I can go but it’s certainly a good step forward. I hope to be ready for the Malaysian Open, though,” said Danny, who is the first Malaysian to have won on the Asian Tour, a feat he achieved in 2002 at the Taiwan Open.
His next tournament is the second leg of the PGM Tour – the Swiss-Garden Closed Championship at the Damai Laut Golf and Country Club in Lumut, Perak, from Feb 12-15.