On his signature course, golfer Jeev signs off early
Far removed from the frenetic activity around Amitabh Bachchan on the 1st tee, Jeev watched closely as the senior Milkha Singh went through with his tee shot on the 10th. With advancing age, the follow-through might have gone awry, but the illustrious son was quick to applaud the effort.other Updated: Jan 12, 2011 23:57 IST
Far removed from the frenetic activity around Amitabh Bachchan on the 1st tee, Jeev watched closely as the senior Milkha Singh went through with his tee shot on the 10th. With advancing age, the follow-through might have gone awry, but the illustrious son was quick to applaud the effort.
It's been a while since the father-son turned out hand-in-hand in a pro-am. In fact, Jeev does not remember the last instance, and the hours of togetherness spent on the eve of the Gujarat Kensville Challenge were captured for posterity.
Watched by Harjai, Jeev's year-old-son, from the sidelines, sighting three generations at the Kensville Golf & Country Club, a venue Jeev has lent his name to, added weight to the occasion. "It is special that this happened at my signature course," said Jeev.
The build-up to the European Challenge Tour's maiden foray into the country was filled with mirth and camaraderie but as the day wore on, disconcerting news came in which could rob the euro 200,000 event of some sheen. Dogged by injuries for a better part of last season, Jeev, prior to his tee-off on Wednesday, had spoken of cutting down his appearance to 30 tournaments --- down from 37 last year, allowing him a break of a month-and-a-half. Soon after holing the final putt on the 18th, Jeev withdrew from the main event with a bad back.
Notwithstanding the world No. 170's pullout, the youngest course, at three years, to host a Challenge Tour event offers enough sops for the 54 Indian pros, who make up the 114-man field along with the 60 from Europe.
Apart from a top prize of euro 32,000, an Indian winner will get to compete at the Challenge Tour, which boasts of sending several champions to the European Tour. A top-20 finish this season will also present a chance to play on the European Tour next season.
Lest the Challenge Tour's "secondary status" evoke sour faces, Jeev had a ready case. "The difference between the Challenge and European Tour is a mere 25%.
Make a note of the names here (like Alessandro Tadini ranked No. 25) and mark my words, next year they'll be competing on the European Tour." The course is some way from maturity but a feel of it had a few pros rubbing their hands in anxiety. "Changing the pin positions will be difficult," exclaimed Ashok Kumar, pointing to the undulating nature of the 17th green.
Jeev had a word of caution. "A lot of planning and management will come into play, one can't hit the driver and sit back," and added, "The greens are firm and the ball is rolling.”