Avantha Masters to make debut on Asian and European Tour

December 22nd, 2009 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 22 (IANS) Indian golf, already growing at a tremendous pace, was given a further boost by the arrival of a new tournament, the 1.5 million euros Avantha Masters, to be played at DLF Golf & Country Club here Feb 11-14.
The event will be tri-sanctioned between the Asian Tour, the European Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI).

The Avantha Masters which has been confirmed for three years beginning 2010, will also be the first event in a new joint venture between Asian and European Tours to be known as EurAsia Golf Ltd.

Avantha Group is one of India’s leading business conglomerates and their arrival into golf signals India’s strong intent to become a leading golfing destination.

The Avantha Masters will be the third European Tour event to be played in India, following the Indian Masters in February 2008 and the Johnnie Walker Classic soon after that.

The Indian Masters at Delhi Golf Club was won by local hero S.S.P. Chowrasia, and by virtue of that he has a two-year exemption that lasts till the end of 2010.

India currently has five golfers with full playing rights on the European Tour. The pack of five is led by Jeev Milkha Singh, the two-time Asian Tour Order of Merit winner and a three-time winner on European Tour.

Another three-time winner on European Tour is Arjun Atwal, and the others are SSP Chowrasia, winner of the Indian Masters, Shiv Kapur, who lost out in a play-off for the South African Open Sunday, Jyoti Randhawa, second at the Malaysian Open in 2009.

The venue, DLF Golf & Country Club, is one of the premier venues in the country and has played host to numerous international events, including the Hero Honda Masters, the Hero Honda Indian Open and the Johnnie Walker Classic besides the Women’s Indian Open.

The course designed by legendary Arnold Palmer, was first opened for play in 1999 and it also boasts India’s only night golfing facility and has a clubhouse designed by world-famous architect Hafeez Contractor.

The 7,250-yard, par-72 course is situated below the gently rolling Aravalli Hills, in park ground that includes five lakes, waterfalls, around 14,000 trees and signature Palmer white-sand bunkers.

Gautam Thapar, chairman and chief executive of the Avantha Group, said: “I am delighted to be associated with this watershed event. The convergence of three powerful golfing bodies for the Avantha Masters marks a new chapter in the history of professional golf in India. This collaborative effort will, no doubt, also establish India as a serious golfing destination on the international circuit.”

Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han said: “We are delighted to welcome the Avantha Masters which is poised to become a main highlight of our 2010 Schedule. Through our strong partnership with the PGTI and The European Tour, we believe this new tournament will maintain India’s terrific growth in the game and provide a wonderful opportunity for the elite golfers from across Asia and Europe to compete at the DLF Golf & Country Club.”

George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Professional golf in India has taken an enormous step forward in recent years, assisted by the superb achievements of a number of players, led by Jeev Milkha Singh. The European Tour has always enjoyed a rich and varied tournament portfolio and we are delighted to be returning to New Delhi.”

Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, said: “The year of 2010 will redefine and reaffirm the potential of professional golf in India over the years to come. Our sincere thanks to the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Avantha group for partnering with the PGTI to help create the Avantha Masters. We look forward to hosting a successful tournament in 2010 and are confident the event will mature into a key week on The European Tour schedule.”

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