The Indian rupee is in free fall, and so, as a consequence, is golf in India. The casualty? The country's biggest tournament in terms of prize money.
Come 2014 and the Avantha Masters will no longer be a part of the European Tour schedule. Title sponsors, the Avantha Group, have
opted not to renew their contract with the Tour, citing poor scheduling and the current economic conditions as reasons.
According to a statement issued by the sponsors, "In order to attract top talent, both the timing of the event in the golf calendar along with a substantial prize money increase will be required… this is not the appropriate moment to do so."
The richest men's professional tournament on Indian soil is not the only one - another European event has bit the dust. After hosting the Challenge Tour (the second rung of the European Tour) season opener on the outskirts of Ahmedabad for three successive years, the sponsors, Savvy Group, have pulled the plug on the Gujarat Kensville Challenge.
Padamjit Sandhu, director of the Professional Golf Tour of India, confirmed these developments. "We were informed by the European Tour (about Avantha) and about Kensville, the Challenge Tour told us that the sponsors have backed out."
Economics aside, the timing of the tournaments on the global golfing calendar has not helped repose sponsor faith. Avantha Masters, for instance, is hosted after substantially richer events in the Middle East (dubbed the "Desert Swing") and in close proximity to two World Golf Championships.
With the biggest names routinely giving India a miss, many feel that sponsors were not getting enough in return.
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