No social media, no agent, but always two gloves – meets the British who play golf by storm

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Aaron Rai says he has worn gloves on both hands since he got a pair at age eight because it provides better grip. "It is not beautiful without them", he says

When Aaron Rai won his first European Tour title in England at the Hong Kong Open last Sunday, something marked him as a bit different.

The 24-year-old, who wanted to become F1 driver before becoming a golfer, is one of a growing number of players of Indian descent who have left their mark on the game.

But Rai & # 39; s difference comes in the form of his kit; the player born in Wolverhampton always wears two gloves that rain or shine, making him look more like a golfer than a golfer.

"I started wearing them from the age of eight for better grip, my game is not pretty without them", he tells BBC Sport.

He is not your average young millionairesporter either. He is not on social media and he has no agent, it is all a process "to keep things simple," he says.

It seems to be bearing fruit so far.

Rai joins the club of Major players

Channeling of his inner Schumacher

There are some great BBC archive footage of a five year old Rai in action at his local job after winning his first tournament.

The interviewer asks him what he wants to be when he grows up, to which a cheeky-faced Rai replies: "A driver", before he bursts out laughing.

Now he says: "That changed pretty quickly, I loved watching Michael Schumacher [seven-time Formula 1 champion] back in the day, and it went so deep that I wore Ferrari T-shirts and jumpers at junior golf competitions.

"That was my thing even from a young age. But since eight or nine it was very quickly only about golf. "

A putting green was installed in the backyard of the family and at the age of 15 Rai laid down the plates after he had given a jackpot to Lee Westwood, and he completed 207 consecutive 10-foot putts.

"I had a few attempts that were not good, but on a third attempt it happened," he says. "It was about an hour and an hour half and then I had a sore back. "

Aaron's mother greets him after winning the Kenya Open during her first trip back to the country in 47 years

How mother helped him play golf by chance

The fact that Rai rippled was an accident .

After playing with his older brother's hockey sticks as a toddler, he ended up with a nasty bruise on his head, so his mother went out to buy some plastic sticks to make things a little safer in the living room.

But she returned home with plastic golf clubs and Rai was allowed to repay his mother in shocking style in 2017.

Dalvir, who is of Kenyan Indian descent and was raised in Mombasa, decided to escort Aaron to the Kenya Open in Nairobi. It was the first time that she visited the country in 47 years.

So when her son held on to his first professional tournament on Mother's Day, she completed a perfect story as she walked to the 18th green to congratulate him.

"To share that with her was very special," says Rai. "That sort of thing does not happen often in life so it was great."

Rai celebrates the winning of the European Tour title in Hong Kong on Sunday with which he earned £ 258,000

His father is not an intrusive parent & # 39;

Rai, who made his big debut at the US Open in 2017, says pursuing a career in golfing may not always be received with encouragement from some parents of Indian descent.

But he says that his parents always encouraged him and that his father Amrik "was always there for support and guidance, but not in an intrusive way".

Amrik was offered a tennis fair in the United States at the age of 20, but rejected it.

"Being an Indian family was different at that time," says Rai.

"It was more about getting a training and a good job, and sports or tennis at that time was never really seen as a good job.

" That pressure on certain career types to have was probably from the previous generation and certain career paths in our culture are still more advanced. It is ambitious to become a lawyer or doctor or dentist and to have that kind of status within the family, but it is starting to change.

"Sport is a lot bigger than what it was 30 or 40 years ago and if I mean bigger, I mean probably in a financial sense

" It becomes a bit more acceptable to practice sport as a viable career. You are now starting to see some good Asians come into certain sports. Bit by bit it is changing and I am sure it will continue to change in the future. "

India & # 39; s Shubhankar Sharma, golfer Julian Suri from the United States and Jack Singh Brar from England are tipped in the future to shine

Golf is becoming more and more inclusive

Rai says that traditional values ​​can be a reason are why there are relatively few Indian golfers on Tour, but he also admits that there are some rare cases where he was subjected to racism, which may also be a factor.

But he says that the rise of golfers of Indian origin around the world is another sign that "the perception of golf changes" and "a lot becomes more acceptable and more inclusive".

He picks up the 22-year old Indian golfer Shubhankar Sharma, who won twice during the European Tour last season, as "a great player, a great symbol for India and already a superstar".

"Then you have Julian Suri from America who also has the Indian origin of his father's side and Jack Singh Brar, who is British-Asian and has had an incredible year behind the Challenge Tour.

"Many guys on the Asian tour who are of Indian descent and have been very successful. So it starts to change and you see more Indians and British Asians golf and perform very well. It is great to see more and more people on Tour. "

After winning three times in the Challenge Tour and now the rankings from Race to Dubai after his success in Hong Kong, Rai is certainly one of them

But he is the only one who will wear gloves even in the burning heat.

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