Jeev raises the Par
The sole fourth spot in the WGC-CA Championship helps Jeev Milkha Singh record his best-ever finish on the PGA Tour, reports Robin Bose.india Updated: Mar 17, 2009 00:19 IST
Beneath the mild demeanour lies the burning desire to succeed on a platform that is a golfer's “final frontier”. Success on the PGA Tour, read the lack of it, is a sore point for Jeev Milkha Singh, and the yearning for recognition in that part of the world keeps resurfacing. Or how would one decipher his response after finishing joint leader on the opening day of the WGC-CA Championship. Questioned on the “recognition factor on this Tour”, Jeev's sombre reply was: “I still need to prove myself out here. Hopefully, one day I can win a tournament on the US PGA Tour, and then I think the recognition will come.”
The top spot in the $8.5 million event at Miami's Doral Golf Resort & Spa may have eluded him, but the sole fourth finish in a hallowed field has opened the sluice gates partly for appreciation to trickle in, but more importantly, it has further steeled the man's belief that he possesses the wherewithal to perform better at this level.
The result may not have left Jeev “fully satisfied”, but it brought forth, along with a purse of $360,000, several positives. Sunday's finale helped Jeev break into the world top-30 (29 to be precise) for the first time, and it also meant the 37-year-old had posted his best result on the Tour, bettering the tied ninth at last year's PGA Championships. Close on the heels was the 12th spot in the Race to Dubai money list. This marquee event of the European Tour will have its top-60 duel for a lion's share of the $10,000,000 prize money at year-end.
After Thursday's scorching seven-under 65, Jeev slipped to eighth, courtesy “too many bogeys and too many errant shots”, but Saturday's card brought him back in contention.
Though he commenced the final day joint third, Jeev was aware of the gulf created by the leader group of Phil Mickelson and Nick Watney.
If initial birdies raised hopes, a couple of bogeys had him strategising. “Those boys upfront were way past us after nine holes so there was no point in over-trying.”
“Making the most with a 70” not only meant he “hung in there”, putting the lid on a rush of blood ensured the “goal of sorts” for the US stayed on rails.