When Jeev Milkha Singh tees off during the Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational presented by Take Solutions at the Chandigarh Golf Club next month, it will be only the sixth time that the 47-year-old Chandigarh golfer will be playing in a PGTI tournament since 2007. The tournament will also be the first tournament in the history of Indian golf to be named after a current golfer and Singh terms it as a special feeling to play in a tournament named after him.
“It’s a special feeling to play in a tournament named after me and I am thankful to PGTI and the sponsors for giving me this honour. I have grown up playing golf on this course and I always used to think about winning tournaments here apart from playing in the major championships and other international tournaments. And to play here as a host also means that I will have added pressure of taking care of the players (laughs). I am sure the players will find this course challenging and more fans will come here to cheer the golfers as compared to last year’s event,” shared Singh.
With a prize money of Rs 1.5 crore, the tournament is the highest prize money tournament in the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) calendar. While the last year’s edition of the tournament saw the club hosting a PGTI event after a gap of three years, the fact that local golfer Shubhankar Sharma won the tournament, will also raise hopes of other local golfers this time. The PGTI also has three Asian Tour co-sanctioned tournaments being played in India apart from three Asian Development tour sanctioned tournaments and Singh is hopeful that this tournament can be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour. “The Chandigarh Golf Course is among the toughest golf courses in India. Apart from plenty of trees, this is a tricky course which can test the patience of golfers. There are some holes which are equally challenging as other International golf courses. The seventh hole apart from the 13 hole are the toughest o the golf course where a slight mistake can cost a golfer heavily. If we talk of golf infrastructure in Chandigarh, it is one of the best in India and I hope to see this tournament being co-sanctioned by Asian Tour in the coming years. Cho Minn Thant, CEO of Asian Tour will be visiting the golf course after the Panasonic Open and it is an encouraging sign for the golf club. We will also be conducting a special golf clinic for junior golfers. With more than 20 new rules of golf to be introduced next year, it is important for the youngsters to learn about the new rules,” shared Singh.
A total of 126 golfers including three amateur golfers apart from 14 foreign golfers will compete in the four-day tournament which also have the Pro-Am event. “A total of 126 golfers will compete in the tournament, which include three amateur golfers and 14 foreign golfers. Golfers like Shiv Kapur, SSP Chawrasia have confirmed their participation and to have the tournament with the highest prize money on the PGTI circuit at Chandigarh Golf Club is a tremendous thing for golf in the region,” said Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI.
The Tournament will also see a special golf clinic for the junior golfers apart from having tie-up with a local FM channel. “Such tournaments can be a game-changer for golf in India. Last year Shubhankar Sharma won here and later won two titles on the European Tour. Players like Karandeep Kochhar and Akshay Sharma will be eager to play at their home course. Apart from conducting a golf clinic, we will also tie up with a FM channel to spread awareness about the event. Entry is free for general public for the event. We have also given honorary life-time membership to Shubhankar Sharma ,” said BS Gill, president of Chandigarh Golf Club.