Jeev all set for new season, keeps top-20 and Majors in sight

January 14th, 2009 - 2:06 pm ICT by IANS  

Singapore, Jan 14 (IANS) Winning on the US Tour and doing well in the Majors will be the main goal in 2009 for Asian Tour No.1 golfer Jeev Milkha Singh.The Indian star, who won the prestigious Asian Tour Order of Merit for the second time last year, hopes to become the first Indian to taste victory on the US PGA Tour and also play his way into the International Team for the Presidents Cup.

“I’ve won on every major international Tour except on the US PGA Tour,” said Jeev, who has triumphed 12 times across Asia, Europe and Japan. “That’s why my main goal is to win in the United States. I’ve got the game to win over there and it will all come down to the short game and mental set up.”

Another goal Jeev has set for himself to try and get in to top-20 of world rankings. He is also ready to challenge and win a Major title after enjoying another stellar season in 2008 where he won four times around the world, including twice in Japan and once each in Asia and Europe.

His victory in the star-studded Barclays Singapore Open last November saw him become Asia’s first million-dollar man during a season where he eventually ended the year with an unprecedented $1.45 million in winnings.

Jeev’s 2008 season mirrored his equally impressive 2006 campaign where he also won four times but this time around, he will be looking to avoid the pitfalls that come with success.

“In 2007, I got too result-oriented and raised my expectations. I think I’ve learned from that and I hope to not repeat it this year. It’s natural to get result-oriented after a great year but I’m going to have to keep reminding myself. I just want to give 100 percent and follow my process and routine,” said Jeev.

He will launch this year’s campaign in the Middle East this week before heading to the US to play in several high-profile events including the WGC-Accenture Match Play and Arnold Palmer Invitational, thanks to his world ranking where he is presently 35th.

The tenacious Indian will remain in US the Masters in April for the year’s first Major which has him rubbing his hands with glee. “My early season events will be to get myself ready again for the Masters,” said Jeev, who finished tied 25th in his second Masters appearance last year.

“I’m really looking forward to the four Majors as the tough courses suit my style of play. Augusta National suits my eye really well. You require a lot of imagination out there and I like it. I’m looking forward to heading back to Augusta,” he added.

A return trip to Bethpage State Park, Black Course in New York for the US Open in June will also be another highlight as it was at this venue in 2002 that Jeev made a small slice of history when he became the first Indian to play in all four rounds at the US Open.

“I like the tough US Open set-up. It’s tough and requires a lot of patience, which I find it challenging. It tends to bring the best out from me as I push myself hard. That’s why I like the Majors,” said Jeev, whose best Major result was tied ninth at the US PGA Championship last season.

He is also eyeing a place in Greg Norman’s International Team that will face the US in the Presidents Cup in October. “It’s on my radar,” said Jeev, presently ranked 15th on the team rankings. He needs to be in the top-10 for an automatic berth.

“I would like to play in it and become the first Indian to do so. That would be a great thing for Indian golf,” he said.

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