American Aman Gupta, one of the brightest talents in US collegiate golf system who is currently ranked 72nd in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR), has decided to pursue his career while playing under the Indian flag. The 22-year-old Gupta is part of the first team at Oklahoma State University, one of the most successful teams in the history of US college golf and boasting of such alumni as Rickie Fowler, Victor Hovland, Matthew Wolff and Peter Uihlein.
Born in Easly in South Carolina, Gupta is an American, but also holds an Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card, which gave him an opportunity to play for India. His father, Kapil, hails from Amritsar and his mother Aradhana is from Mumbai.
A semi-finalist at the 2020 US Amateur Championship, Gupta is currently in the final year at OSU and plans to turn professional towards the middle of next year.
Speaking exclusively to IANS, Gupta said: “I had not known until recently that I was eligible to represent India. It was something I always wanted to do. I love the US and hope to be able to represent them one day as well, but my roots are in India and I would be disappointed if I never got the chance to represent the country that means so much to my family.”
Gupta said the sensational run by Aditi Ashok at the Tokyo Olympics, and the reaction it evoked in India, also played a role in his decision.
“I started thinking on this a couple of weeks ago. I will say her run was a part of it… it was inspiring to see. But to be able to represent India, I’ve always thought it would be a really cool thing to be able to do,” he added.
Gupta is hoping to represent India at the upcoming Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC), which will be played in the first week of November at the Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club. The AAC is a premier amateur tournament for the region, with the winner getting invitations to play in the Masters and the Open Championship next year.
“I hope I can get into the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship. It would be an amazing honour to represent India as its highest-ranked player. And of course, Olympics is another event that I’d love to be a part of,” he added.
Gupta last visited India nearly seven years ago, and is eager to return and visit his relatives soon.
“The last few years have been very busy for me between my school, college and playing tournaments. But I do want to go back to India. I have some unforgettable memories, and I definitely want to relive a few of them again,” said Gupta, who enjoys Indian food — especially paneer dishes — and rates ‘Singh is King’ as his favourite Bollywood movie.