Jeev to start year with Middle East swing

January 8th, 2009 - 1:45 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Jan 8 (IANS) India’s ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, who began the year at a career-high ranking of 34 in the world, has confirmed his participation for the three-leg Middle East swing, which starts with the Abu Dhabi Open and runs through the Qatar Masters and concludes with the Dubai Desert Classic.The middle-east is Jeev’s favourite haunt with three of his major sponsors - ‘golf in DUBAI’, Jumeirah Estates and Qatar-based Panceltica - hailing from the region.

After his best-ever season, Jeev rose from 36th to 34th in world rankings even during his two-week rest period.

“I am playing well and looking forward to this new season. The fitness regimen during these two weeks has been great,” said Jeev, who has also planned to cut down his schedule for 2009.

“I want to play less and do well in big events, especially the Majors and WGC, for which I have a start in all. I want to bring my schedule down from 37-38 weeks to 32-33.”

Apart from Jeev, there will be three other Indians who start their season with the Middle East swing. Jyoti Randhawa, who rounded off a modest 2008 with a sensational last round 64 to win the BILT Open on the Indian Tour in a field that included Jeev, will also play the three legs in the Gulf. Randhawa was 67th in European Money list last year.

S.S.P. Chowrasia, who stunned the world with his sensational win at the Emaar-MGF Indian Masters last year, will also be in the fray as will be Shiv Kapur, who kept his card with a brave effort at the end of the season.

The 37-year-old Jeev, who won four events in 2008, also won 2008 Asian Tour’s Order of Merit for the second time in three years. He was also chosen the Players’ Player of the Year in Asia.

“I have proven myself again - and now it’s time to move on to bigger things. I think I’ve got the game, and the confidence, to win any tournament, even a Major,” said Jeev, who last year also signed up for his first Jeev Milkha Singh Golf Academy with Skytop Golf Village in Mysore.

“I want to give back something to the game and the association with Skytop is a step in that direction. I want to work with children and help grow golf,” he said.

On his own goals, he added: “Of course, I would love to have a Major under my belt before my golfing career is over, but there are other tournaments like the Dubai Desert Classic which are very close to my heart. Dubai is a fantastic place. I have always felt very good being there. In fact, I can call it a home away from home.”

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