Indian golf has come a long way in the last decade or so. It all started with Ali Sher winning the Indian Open at the Delhi Golf Club in 1991. Never before had an Indian professional laid hands on a golf trophy apart from amateur PG Sethi way back in 1965 .To make the halfway cut for us was a big feat and we never considered ourselves as contenders in any major international events.
In the mid-nineties, it started changing with a new breed of golfers entering the Indian scene. Public school educated, well-spoken young boys took up the game as a profession and the face of golf in India changed. Players like Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Gaurav Ghei, Arjun Atwal and myself started playing regularly on the Asian Tour and soon started contending for titles.
In the last 15 years, Indians have won numerous titles on the world scene in Europe, Asia and the PGA Tour (we consider Daniel Chopra as one of our own).
The depth of Indian golf is evident when one looks at the leaderboard after the third round of the SAIL Open. Six out of the top-eight are Indians and as many as 31 made the halfway cut.
The growth of the Indian Professional Golf tour (PGTI) has a huge role to play in the success of Indians in international golf. More and more youngsters see it as a career. This leads to stiff competition and in turn churns out better players.
The PGTI now stages roughly two-dozen tournaments each year and the leader of the order of merit makes a cool 3-4 million rupees by the end of the season.
The final day at the SAIL Open is heading for a very exciting, nail-biting finish. Six strokes separate the top-six players and anyone can take the title.
A good solid start to the round will be the key.