20 Questions With Kanika Minocha

Kanika Minocha recorded her best finish as a Spartan, finishing tied for 12th at the recently-completed Spartan Invitational. The sophomore from India who likes In-N-Out burgers and Panda Express stepped away from the course for this week’s edition of 20 Questions.

When was the first time you played golf and who got you started in the game?
When I was eleven. My mom got all my siblings and me to learn how to play golf.

What do your mom and dad do occupationally?
My dad has business in India. We call them “dirties,” but they are hand woven rugs. He supplies them to a company. He designs them and the factory workers weave them. My mom helps dad around, but pretty much she’s a housewife. Now that she has no kids at home. She is at the golf course.

What do you remember about your first set of golf clubs?
I used to rent a junior set, at first. Then when I got better in like a year or two, I got a Swilken (of St. Andrews, Scotland) set. They had green shafts.

How would you describe the differences between golf courses at home and golf in America?
For starters, the greens are much faster here than in India. Actually, there are a couple of courses back home which are like the ones we play here, but I think it’s just the greens. The rough is thicker here, but the rest is pretty much the same. Some of the courses back home have Bermuda grass on the greens, that’s different.

What would you say are your strengths right now, as far as playing golf?
My ability to make up-and-downs.

What would like to improve on most as you go forward?
My putting and my driving.

What are your golf highlights so far?
Okay, this is when I thought I got really good. It was in 2004, in India we have a circuit so we play and the last tournament is the All-India, which is a match-play, so we play two days of stroke-play to qualify for match-play. I was the sixteenth to qualify, and I was playing against a first-seed (Shruti Khanna) and I beat her in the first round and that was a really big. Then in the second round, I was playing against the #1-junior in the country and I beat her, too. That was really big (laughter)!

Did you win any tournaments in India?

March 2006, I won my first amateur tournament - The Chandigerh Lady Open. It was an amateur tournament, for us in India we don’t have a junior circuit; in the amateur circuit we have a junior trophy.

When you watch golf on television, whether it’s PGA or LPGA, whom do you like to watch?
Tiger Woods. I like to watch Vijay Singh, too. That’s because I met him in person and I’ve watched him in practice, so I like to watch him.

Is Vijay Singh different in person then the American media makes him out to be?
He’s really tall, probably taller than what he looks like on television. No, he’s not that bad a person. He’s worked hard, so he carries that on his shoulders. I don’t know if that’s appreciated here.

What’s been your favorite class at San Jose State?
I like all of them, but I kind of liked Art History-50 a lot, because we get to think. It wasn’t like you have to read a book about history and stuff. You just had to give your own opinions. There aren’t right or wrong answers.

What are some of your favorite foods?

I love Thai food! I like green curry. I love Chinese food too, like Panda Express. And, of course, I love Indian food.

If you were in the kitchen and you could make a meal for your roommate, what would you make her?
I would cook her Indian chicken curry with Indian bread. She likes that. I could probably make some potatoes - Indian style!

If you were to tell an American three differences between India and America, what would they be?
First, India is more collective compared with the individualism here in the United States. Second, is that we have a very different accent, we have a British accent and it’s very difficult for people to understand me. Third, no offense, but I think we have more of a sense of humor. In India, you can pretty much be funny with everybody and they won’t be offended, especially from the part of the country that I come from (northern India). They are very loud, funny, joking people there.

When you can get away from the golf environment, what do you like to do?
I like to read and listen to music.

If you could put a concert together, whom would you like to have perform for you?
Avril Lavigne, Plain White Tee’s, Bryan Adams and an Indian band called, JAL.

Do you know anybody else who has your same name?
Oh yeah, in India it’s a very common name. It means gold. I know bazillion people with my same first name.

What would you like to see your team accomplish between now and the end of the season?
To win the WAC and get to Nationals (NCAA Championships).

So if were a golf instructor, what would be the first three things you would tell me to do?
I would teach you how to hold the club well and I would give you a seven-iron in your hand. I would tell you to swing naturally to see how you would swing before I would throw all the technique on you. First couple days I would let you swing the way you want to swing rather than teach you what to do.

Why the seven-iron as opposed to another club?
Because when I started playing, my coach gave me a seven-iron and I thought it was smart, because it was sort of an in-between club.

How would characterize women’s college golf?
It’s different, you’re not competing as an individual, you’re competing as a team, which was a very big change for me. It took me awhile, but I think I’m adjusted now.

When you finish your college education at San Jose State, do you have immediate plans to return home or stay?
It’s one of those things that I haven’t decided on. As of right now, I’m planning to go back home after four years, because I want to come back for graduate school, but I want take a year or two off.

What do you want to study if you decide to come back and pursue your graduate degree?
I’m deciding between child psychology and sports psychology, but probably child psychology because I like it.

This week’s 20 Questions was brought to you by The Grill On The Alley.

Past 2007-08 20 Questions
August 22 - Colleen Burke, Women's Volleyball
September 12 - Nick Cukar, Men's Soccer
September 26 - Amber Silverstone, Women's Tennis
October 17 - Jillene Golez, Women's Swimming
October 24 - Kelly Crow, Volleyball
October 31 - Heather Oranje, Women's Soccer
November 14 - Richard Mann, Men's Soccer
November 21 - Amanda Carr, Women's Swimming
November 28 - Pam DeCosta, Women's Basketball
December 12 - Eileen Daley, Academic Services
December 19 - Holiday Edition
January 2 - DaShawn Wright, Men's Basketball
January 9 - Tim Pierce, Men's Basketball
January 16 - Raylyn Cardeno, Women's Gymnastics
February 13 - Kasey Igarta, Softball
February 20 - Beste Erener & Katey Nelson, Women's Swimming
March 5 - Kanika Minocha, Women's Golf