Ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh said the Padma Shri award was a "pleasant surprise" which put him in right mood for the second round of the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters in Doha.
"It was a pleasant surprise and one that put me in the right mood," said Jeev, who finished as Asia No. 1 in 2006.
Jeev becomes the first golfer to have been given the award, which is not restricted to just sportspersons, but given to all those who have done the country proud.
"To be put alongside the corporate czars like Sunil Bharti Mittal, Naina Kidwai and authors like Vikram Seth is indeed a great honour," added Jeev, who won four international titles on three Tours to be ranked 37th in the world.
Jeev and his father Milkha Singh now become the first father and son to be honoured thus.
Milkha Singh was honoured with Padma Shri in 1959 after his gold medal winning effort at the 1958 Commonwealth Games in Cardiff. To date Milkha is the only Indian to have won a gold medal in Commonwealth Games athletics competition.
"I have always looked up to my Dad and to be given that same honour is like a dream come true," said Jeev, who had won the Arjuna Award in 2000.
Jeev said he had returned from the course early to catch some rest and ignored the phone calls on Thursday.
"I wanted to sleep early and be ready for the crucial second day, but the phone rang three or four times. I decided to leave things till the morning. In the morning the message box had quite a few congratulatory messages.
"I wondered why and then one of the messages mentioned that I had been given the Padma Shri Award on the Republic Day," he said.