Anirudh Uppal, a 16-year-old golfer, is likely to be punished by the Indian Golf Union (IGU) for entering the Northern India Juniors in Panchkula and flying to London one day after the tournament’s June 16 start. And that was because Uppal had registered for a training programme at St Andrews, Scotland, from June 19-26.
Terming such behaviour as “insensitivity of a rich kid”, the IGU’s disciplinary committee is considering a three-tournament ban, a source told HT, adding, “The quantum of punishment will also depend on how Anirudh presents his case.”
In a move that defies logic, Uppal, who has a student membership at the Delhi Golf Club, booked one of the 10 spots open to qualifiers in Category A, but thereafter asked his friend to take his place in the main draw as he was scheduled to fly out.
Word spread and those on the waiting list approached the IGU to allow the next in line to play. After informing the children that rules could not be violated, the championship committee talked tough with Uppal and told him that he would not be allowed to “spoil a spot”. Upon this, the youngster relented but pleaded for an exemption.
His request turned down, Uppal withdrew after playing the front nine on Day One, citing acute ankle pain. “As it is, he rarely makes points or the cut, on top of it, it was shameful to see him laugh and jump the moment he stepped out of the club gates,” the IGU source said. Uppal’s younger brother, Ayush, 12, who was competing in Category C, followed suit by “feigning illness” after the 7th hole. However, given his age, he has escaped punishment.
There is also talk of informing the organisers in St Andrews of Uppal’s “irresponsible behaviour”, but Puneet Sachdev, managing director, The Indian Golf Company (who arranged the trip), pleaded ignorance.
“Anirudh showed a lot of promise here but if such a thing has happened, I am not aware of it and neither has the IGU got in touch with us so far,” he said from Edinburgh.
When contacted, Uppal said: “I took part because I wanted to see how the Northern India is conducted. Probably, it was a mistake. I wanted to
withdraw but the IGU did not allow me to do so.”