WHEN JEEV Milkha Singh tees off in the opening round of the Take Open Golf Championship this Thursday, not only the Chandigarh golfer will be playing for the first time at his home club in the last six years but also in the presence of his seven-year-old son Harjai Milkha Singh and long-time caddie Gurvinder Singh. The 45-year-old golfer, who has won 14 titles at the international level, last played at Chandigarh Golf Club in March 2016, when he finished tied fifth in the PGTI Players Championship, will be competing against the likes of Jyoti Randhawa, Rashid Khan and Khalin Joshi in the Rs 1 crore event.
“It’s a special moment in my career. This is the course which has given me all and I can remember every time I have played here. I have played at the courses all over the world but coming back and playing here is always special for me. My son Harjai has never seen me play here; he has also been making his preparations. Earlier this year when I played in BMW International Open in Germany, he followed me on all the 18 holes and he plans to do the same here in Chandigarh,” said Jeev Milkha Singh, who holds the feat of being the first Indian golfer to break into top 50 in World Rankings and the highest ever ranked Indian golfer reaching world number 28.
A regular on the Asian Tour and having played on the European Tour as well, Jeev has played only five times in the PGTI circuit since 2008. The professional golfer, who captained Team Asia in the 2016 EurAsia Cup in Malaysia, has played in 28 tournaments on the Asian Tour in the last two years. He still counts his days of practice at his home club as a valuable lesson. “Every time, I walk to the course, I see it as a temple. It is a tree- lined golf course and it taught me to be a good driver of the ball from a very young age. I would try a variety of shots between the trees, indulging in low drives and slice shots. It helped my game a lot. As a youngster, I would always dream to win a tournament here and when I won an amateur tournament and a pro event here in the 1990s, it meant a lot. I have been fortunate to play here and I am looking forward to the Take Open,” said Jeev, who also practices at CGA Range.
Apart from the Milkha family — Jeev’s father legendary athlete Milkha Singh, mother Nirmal Kaur and wife Kudrat —Jeev’s long-time caddie and former classmate Gurvinder Singh would be once again donning the caddie’s hat for the golfer. “I still remember the day when Jeev won the ITC Classic here in the late 1990s. He shot a three-under score and it was the first time that an Indian golfer had won in Chandigarh with an under-par score. I was his caddy in Taepei last week too. He practises here often but to be his caddy at this venue is special for me. It all started here for him and my 16-year-old golfer son Jannish Jeev Singh will also walk the 18 holes on all four days,” said 48-year-old Gurvinder.