The first Indian golfer to play in the prestigious Augusta Masters,Jeev Milkha Singh believes the country will have its maiden Major winner in the next five years. With Indian golfers making rapid strides on the Asian,European and the PGA Tour,Jeev,the first from the country to break into the world top-50,feels the day is not far when an Indian triumphs at one of the four Majors.
“The first thing is to break into the top-50 because that’s what you need to play in a Major. We have got a lot of talent in the country and I am sure one of the guys will do that. The first two-three Majors will give you the experience and after that you can aim for a win,” he said at the pre-tournament press conference. “May be in the next five years,we are going to have an Indian winner at the Majors. Our players have the game,” the veteran golfer said.
Jeev,who teed up at the Masters in 2007 and was at the top of the leaderboard on the opening day,recalled his own experience. “I always dreamt of playing Masters and I was fortunate to do that. I enjoyed my time there. The Masters is my favourite Major because of the atmosphere,which is fantastic. It’s the only Major which is played on the same course every year,” he said. “You have got to be mentally strong to play in a Major. Right now,I want to get back into the top-50,” he added.
Jeev’s opinion was echoed by rising star Gaganjeet Bhullar. “It is just a matter of time. The more opportunities we get,the better the stats would be every year. The first target is to be in top-50. It’s not easy at the Majors though,because the courses are difficult and the scoring is also difficult,” he explained.
Calls for Truce between tours
Singh also added would like to see a truce between the Asian Tour and its rival OneAsia so the continent can realise its potential as golf’s next big market,the Indian said on Wednesday. For the second time this year,the rival tours went head-to-head last week with Australian Scott Hend winning the Asian Tour’s inaugural Chiangmai Golf Classic in Thailand while South Korean Choi Ho-sung clinched the Indonesia PGA Championship on the OneAsia circuit.
Singh was one of the four Asian Tour order of merit winners to tee off in Thailand and the Indian said he wanted the rival tours to reach a compromise. “I just hope that compromise takes place for the betterment of the game in the region,” Singh,an honorary Asian Tour member,said on the eve of the Panasonic Open India at the Delhi Golf Club.
“Because Asia is the market,I just feel that this is where golf is going to grow and get really big,” said Singh,adding his primary loyalty lay with the Asian Tour. “Asian Tour has been there for so many years. OneAsia just started. So the loyalty obviously stays with the Asian Tour. Asian Tour has given us a lot. “Our job as players is to go out and make the most of it by playing,” he added.