An amazing five-week stretch sees Indian golf rocking

March 9th, 2008 - 8:49 pm ICT by admin  

By V. Krishnaswamy
Indian golf doubtless has come of age. In an amazing five-week stretch Indians have stunned the world into sitting up and take note of the rise and the depth it has. Arjun Atwal has kept this incredible Indian streak going. With his win Sunday at the Malaysian Open, he ensured the Indian presence in the top-five for the fifth week running.

The five weeks have seen five different Indians in top-five and two of them winning and two finishing runners-up. Lest there be talk of modest fields, four of these tournaments were joint-sanctioned with the European Tour and the cream of global presence was there playing. Be it Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh or Colin Montgomerie, they have all been humbled at home and overseas.

Speaking soon after his win in Malaysia, a thrilled Atwal said, ” Indian progress has been amazing. Jeev, Jyoti, SSP (Chowrasia) and all these young guys fighting it out and winning. It’s amazing. So many guys from India are competing in top-notch tournaments, it’s awesome.’

Shiv Shankar Prasad Chowrasia and Atwal, who grew up in the same city learning the sport — but both hailing totally different backgrounds — have won a co-sanctioned tournament each, while Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa, both top-100 players in the world, have one second place each. And yes, Shiv Kapur, one of the brightest young players in Asia, was fifth last week at Johnnie Walker.

Then there is Daniel Chopra, who learnt all his early golf in India and who despite holding a Swedish passport, is an Indian at heart. He won the Mercedes Benz Championship at the start of the year.

Randhawa may not have won as yet this year, but in his own words, he is “knocking the door each week” and is currently on an incredible personal top-10 streak having achieved that for the fourth week in a row on Sunday and for the fifth time in seven starts this year.

Jeev already has a flight booked to the Augusta and so does Daniel Chopra. Randhawa is steadily moving up and has one more week to get to top-50 to earn an invite to the Masters.

Starting from Chowrasia’s stunning win in Emaar-MGF Indian Masters early last month, Indian golf has been rocking. Chowrasia’s victory was followed by Jeev Milkha Singh’s being edged out on the 72 nd hole at the Indonesia Open and the very next week Jyoti Randhawa played the bridesmaid to Mark Brown at the SAIL Open.

Last week at the Johnnie Walker Classic, Shiv Kapur rose from the sick bed to finish fifth in a star-studded field. And on Sunday, Arjun Atwal, the first Indian to arrive on the US Tour, won the Malaysian Open for the second time in five years.

Yes, this is only the first quarter of the year, but there are six Indians in the top-10 of Asian Tour Order of Merit and there are four Indians in top-40 of Europe with a fifth Indian Shiv Kapur at the 52nd place. Chowrasia lies 10th and Atwal 11th, while Randhawa is 26th and Jeev 40th.

Apart from at least one top-five, there has been at least one more player - often more - in top-10 to emphasise the depth of Indian golf. Barring Randhawa (four times in this period) and now Atwal (twice) there are five others — Jeev, Kapur, Digvijay Singh, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Gaurav Ghei — who have finished in the top-10.

Asian Tour titles have begun pouring in regularly and now the European Tour titles. Atwal and Chopra are flying the flag in the US. Soon a major should be on the way.

Yes, Indian golf sure is rocking.

(V. Krishnaswamy is consulting editor, IANS, and he can be contacted at

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