Need to market our players
I remember 20 years back we would look forward to a $50,000 (Rs 22.7 lakh) Indian Open with great excitement. Today, we are playing $3 million (Rs 13.6 crore) events in India. Events co-sanctioned with the European and Asian Tour have given Indian golfers a chance to rub shoulders with the best in the world.other Updated: Apr 11, 2010 23:08 IST
I remember 20 years back we would look forward to a $50,000 (Rs 22.7 lakh) Indian Open with great excitement. Today, we are playing $3 million (Rs 13.6 crore) events in India. Events co-sanctioned with the European and Asian Tour have given Indian golfers a chance to rub shoulders with the best in the world.
Who would forget Gaurav Ghei holing his eagle chip to win the Western Gadgil Masters and a cheque for $80,000 (Rs 36.3 lakh) a decade back!
Atwal and Randhawa also hit the world scene after winning the Indian Open. A tournament of such high prominence and prize money has boosted careers many Indian professionals.
Even though I am totally for such events, I feel the biggest boost to a professional’s career is a strong personal sponsor. If we look at the career of Jeev, Jyoti, Shiv Kapur and S.S.P. Chowrasia, they have all got serious support.
In today’s world, it costs anything between Rs 80,000 to 1.5 lakh to play a single event (including air tickets, hotels, caddies, entry fees, food etc). So, if a professional has to play a minimum of 20 events internationally he needs to start out with Rs 20 lakh in his pocket. This is serious money for an Indian sponsor to dish out.
There are at least 20 Indian players who can compete internationally but can’t due to lack of sponsorship. One can imagine the risk a professional has to take if he goes out to play with his own money.
Today, 10 to 15 players play abroad and only about five make a living out of playing internationally. One can imagine if this number is 30 how Indian golf would go forward. We need a lot more player managers who will market our professionals.
A professional event cost the sponsors no less than Rs 30 to 40 lakh and there would be a lot of corporates who could afford a player for Rs 15 lakh but not an event, hence there is no clash of interest here. The need for the hour, I feel, is player marketing with event marketing.
The trend of a bunch of very successful domestic players
taking chances to play abroad or a professional from an affluent family going out to play has to change if India is to produce world beaters by the dozen and not just a handful like today.