The AIS Open is back on rails. Rechristened the AIS-PGTI Open and armed with fresh dates, the event will also be held at a new venue. But the cloud to the silver lining in its second edition is the sharp drop in prize money - apparently owing to economic slowdown.
From a "projected" sum of Rs 60-70 lakh, the kitty has been revised to Rs 30 lakh, but Professional Golf Tour of India's tour commissioner, Ajay Gupta, made light of the cutback. "Look where the stock market is headed. If inspite of this the sponsor has agreed to come on board, we should respect his decision."
Despite several attempts, Sanjay Labroo, chairman and managing director of Asahi India Glass Ltd, could not be reached for his comments.
Like in its first year, the Delhi Golf Club was expected to host this but couldn't owing to a combination of factors. Rajiv Hora, secretary, DGC, said: "We gave the PGTI a couple of dates but it did not suit them. Besides, we had already committed to the Ladies Open (the inaugural event of ladies's domestic tour from September 16-19). Our elections are due after that." Gupta had a different version. "The DGC has shut down for re-seeding of the winter grass. It is being done on the insistence of the European Tour which found the grass too brown during the Indian Masters."
Said Hora: "The process is being tried out for the first time in India and is scheduled for early November (almost a month after the culmination of the Hero Honda Indian Open)."
The meet will now be staged at the Golden Greens in Gurgaon from September 10-13 and is expected to attract an impressive field led by Jyoti Randhawa.