Bengaluru: Indian golfing legend Jeev Milkha Singh is excited about playing competitive golf in the city of Bengaluru after a long gap of five years as he prepares to tee it up at the inaugural TAKE Solutions Masters, an event co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and PGTI, scheduled to begin at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) course this Thursday.
The two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion’s last appearance at a professional tournament in the Garden City was at a team event in 2012, the LP Cup.
“It’s always a pleasure to come back to Bengaluru. At this time of the year, the city has the best weather in the country. Last time I played here, the crowds came out in big numbers. I’m expecting the same this time around. The KGA is a fantastic venue and provides a great atmosphere for a tournament with the members coming out in full support.
“The conditions at the KGA course will offer a stern test to the professionals. The rough is up, the greens have a good speed and are holding and it also gets quite windy here, in fact it stops and swirls at times. So good course management and distance control is required to perform well at the KGA,” said Jeev.
The 45-year-old, who won his last international title in Scotland in 2012, hasn’t had much to celebrate in recent times barring a tied second finish at last year’s Indonesia Open. He’s now seeking a change of fortunes on Indian soil.
“It’s been a slow start to the season. I’ve had just one outstanding round this year, the eight-under-63 in Thailand. I also came close to winning in Indonesia last year where I finished joint runner-up. So the results are not coming the way I would like them to come.
“But I have the experience to know that I just have to hang in there. The trust and belief system is very important in golf. If you keep following it, even while under pressure, you will eventually succeed.
“Golf is such that one’s game can turn around in one week. So I’m now looking for that spark. When it does come together, one needs to take advantage of it and get back to the winning circle,” added Jeev, who confessed that his next goal was to win before turning 50.
The seasoned pro, who is still the only Indian to have broken into the world’s top-30, a feat he achieved when he climbed to world no. 28 in early 2009, is hopeful that the addition of the TAKE Solutions Masters on the Asian Tour schedule will go a long way in growing golf in Asia in general and India in particular.
He said, “I would like to thank Mr. Srinivasan for his initiative in setting up this event. He’s been instrumental in promoting golf in India. We need more people like him to make this game grow in our country. Hopefully, the success of this event will encourage more golf-loving people to come out in support of the sport.”
Jeev regards Bengaluru as the next big contributor of golfing talent with the city already having produced the likes of Anirban Lahiri, Chikkarangappa, Khalin Joshi, Udayan Mane and India’s leading lady golfer Aditi Ashok.
Jeev said, “Bengaluru is now a major golfing hub like Chandigarh has been for many years. The city boasts of world-class facilities, good weather all year round and good coaches. A good system is in place here and thus the city is truly deserving of an international event. If this continues, I can see a lot more players coming through from Bengaluru.”