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Playing host, through the pain

other Updated: Nov 17, 2012 00:48 IST
Kaushik Chatterji

The ligament tear that he suffered during his Scottish Open win and aggravated during the pro-am of last week's Singapore Open reduced the blood supply to his swollen right index finger.

Ordinarily, the injury should have kept him out for at least four months. But while Jeev Milkha Singh has not "touched a club in 10 days now", there's no way the Indian golf legend can be kept away from the greens for much longer.

He is skipping this week's Hong Kong Open and two other Asian Tour events in Thailand. But he will be back on the course, the injured finger duly taped up, four more times before year-end. All are limited-field events he has earned spots in by working hard all through a resurgent 2012 that saw him climb back into the world top-100.

Tough preparations
"You prepare yourself for these tournaments from the start of the year," said Jeev. "You need to be in the European Tour's top 60 to play the Race to Dubai (finale), win an event in Japan or on a higher tour to make the 25-man field of JT Cup."

The third is the Royal Trophy, Asia's answer to the Ryder Cup; the fourth, on the weekend before Christmas, is to be hosted by Jeev himself. "God has given me a lot through this game, so I want to give something back," said Jeev of the 30-man invitational event modeled along the lines of the "tournaments of champions" hosted by Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and - closer home -KJ Choi.

Given his doctor's warning - that the bone will start protruding where the ligament used to be unless he lay off the clubs for a while - isn't he taking an awfully huge risk?

"Yes I am," admitted Jeev. "But since I have 10 years of golf left in me, there's no way I'm staying away for the game for four months."