The Indian Golf Union (IGU) is writhing its hands in exasperation. Given a choice it would host this year’s Indian Open at Bangalore, read the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA), but there is little it can do. “The rights for the Open are with the Asian Tour till 2010. From next year, we will have a greater say,” IGU president, Ashit Luthra, told HT from Kolkata on Wednesday.
In fact, the Garden City possesses the right credentials to stage the National Open. After C. Muniyappa had lifted the trophy with trembling hands at the DLF Golf & Country Club last year, Luthra’s remarks were, “Now that we have a champion from the city, it is only appropriate that the Indian Open, after spending a decade in and around Delhi, travels down south to Bangalore.”
Owing to the Commonwealth Games in October, the event has been deferred to early December, and with a little over six months left, IGU officials are puzzled by the sponsor’s (Hero Honda) stoic silence. “It’s been two weeks since I wrote to Mr (Pawan) Munjal (the managing director and CEO) but am still awaiting a reply. I will be sending a reminder this week,” he said.
A decision on the venue needs to be reached quickly as experts say a minimum of six months are required to get a course in shape for an event befitting the stature of the Indian Open.
When contacted, a top Hero Honda official said a decision was yet to be reached.
The IGU’s leaning towards Bangalore is unmistakable. The Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy (a top international event for amateurs) was scheduled at the KGA from April 21-23, but was a non-starter as top players failed to make it due to the accumulation of volcanic ash over Europe. “The idea was to showcase KGA to the world through the Bonallack Trophy. That it didn’t happen was unfortunate,” said Luthra.
Notwithstanding the IGU’s predicament, the mood at the KGA is upbeat. “The course condition is such that the delegates at the Bonallack Trophy were drooling. If one goes by performance too, we deserve to hold the Indian Open. Not only have our golfers been performing consistently at the national arena, the KGA records 50,000 rounds per annum, which is the highest in India. An impressive turnout is guaranteed, which will go a long way in propagating the sport in this part of the country,” said Nandan Heblikar, the club president.
On a lighter note, he quipped, “Mr Munjal won’t regret coming to Bangalore, it has the highest sale of two-wheelers in the country!”