Indian golf scores a birdie: three back-to-back Asian Tour events
On the heels of golf courses reopening across the country, comes another piece of good news. In a first for Indian professional golf, a bounty of $2.45 million awaits players as three back-to-back Asian Tour events will unfold in October and November across Delhi and Gurugram. Billed the “India swing”, the tournaments will bring much-needed respite for pros after prolonged lockdown.
The $400,000 Panasonic Open at the Classic Golf and Country Club from October 15-18 will be followed by a new event, DGC Open with a tentative prize money of $300,000, at the Delhi Golf Club and the flagship $1.75 million (the purse on offer last year) Hero Indian Open, joint sanctioned by the European Tour, is slated at the DLF Golf and Country Club from October 29-November 1. Scheduled in March since it graduated to the European Tour in 2015, the national Open was postponed this season on account of the pandemic. The dates are yet to reflect on the Tour’s calendar but will be announced as soon as technicalities are firmed up.
The “India swing” will be on the lines of the new six-week UK swing in July and August announced by the European Tour in its revised schedule. The three weeks of action will be a windfall for players, especially those on the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), given the long disruption to the domestic season.
When contacted, Asian Tour commissioner and CEO Cho Minn Thant confirmed from Singapore that steps were afoot to redraw the schedule in a way to minimise travel and ensure player safety after the onset of the pandemic. “Stringing several events together in India is one of our goals. It would be extremely beneficial if we can stage the Panasonic Open India and the re-scheduled Hero Indian Open in close proximity. We are currently working on this and there is also a possibility of adding one more event to make up an India swing.
“We are trying to re-shuffle events from their original dates to make travel as convenient as possible for our players and officials. The key is to try and reduce the amount of cross-border movement from each country in the short term so we are speaking with tournament owners to encourage them to allow us to group tournaments in the same countries together.”
While Panasonic and Hero MotoCorp did not respond to queries, DGC president, Major RS Bedi (retd), replied in the affirmative. “As a club, our main objective has always been to promote golf. After the hard work put into redesigning the Lodhi Course, we want to focus on our core strength again. There can be no better way to get back on track than to own a tournament in the club’s name,” he said.