Lot more golfers will make India proud, says Jeev Milkha Singh

Ace golfers Jeev Milkha Singh and Shiv Kapur, now, expect more from Indian golfers after a terrific 2018 that saw six professional wins for the country's golfers.

Shiv Kapur and Jeev Milkha Singh during the Habitat for India Golf Charity Tournament 2019 at Wellingdon Sports Club in Mumbai.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

The year 2018 has been a glittering year for Indian golf. If youngster Shubhankar Sharma was the biggest discovery, he wasn’t the only winner. The calendar year saw six professional wins for the country’s golfers – four on the Asian Tour and two co-sanctioned by Europe and Japan.

Ace golfers Jeev Milkha Singh and Shiv Kapur, now, expect more from Indian golfers. Kapur calls it the ‘golden era of Indian golf’, and Jeev, too, agrees.

“The future of Indian golf is bright. It’s great to see these young kids coming up, they have got a good mind, they are strong mentally to take on the world and play with the best players. And Shubhakar (Sharma), Anirban (Lahiri), Chirag (Kumar) have proven it. Shiv has proven it,” Jeev said on the sidelines of the Habitat for Humanity Charity golf tournament at the Willingdon Sports Club on Sunday.

The event is organised to raise funds for widows of the farmers in Maharashtra.

“I can keep naming players who have done it and in the future we are going to see a lot more players making the country proud,” Jeev, one of the pioneers of professional golf in India, said.

“In golf there are so many tournaments, a guy is playing 30 tournaments and if he wins one, it’s like really good. Its like having a double century, if you win one tournament in 30 weeks,” Jeev said.

“The kids have a lot of knowledge these days through internet, they know what they need to work on – the physical and mental aspects of the game.”

Former India cricketer Ajit Agarkar, an active golfer after retirement was also present.   -  SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

 

"When we started playing the game, internet was still taking baby steps, and for an Indian golfer it was difficult to keep pace with the world. We used to wait for video tapes after three weeks of Masters Championship to watch it, I used to be starving to get those video tapes. Now, everything is available on a click,” he said.

While he is excited with the way the game has grown, Jeev admits that public golf courses and driving ranges are still lacking in the country.

“Tomorrow if somebody wants to start golf, he should be given that opportunity. That’s when this game is going to go to the mass,” he said.

READ: Four Indians earn Asian Tour cards

His son, Harjai Milkha Singh, too bagged a medal in the Kids World Championship last year and Jeev is quite excited about that.

“As a parent, I don’t put any pressure on him. I don’t even coach him. I was caddying for him because he wanted me to be there. He plays football, cricket, golf. When he gets to the age of 12, if he is interested and if tells me ‘Dad, I am interested (in golf)’, then only I will get involved. Otherwise, he is going to hate his father,” he said on a lighter vein.

“My dad (the legendary Milkha Singh) obviously was from the army and he would tell me to work hard. He still does. He is disciplined and you have to be honest and sincere in your practice. He still says the same thing. I tell him, ‘Dad, I am nearly 50 year old’. He says, “You are still my son.”

While he believes that an Indian can win a Major this year, Jeev wants to continue playing till he is 60.

“I want to play, hopefully, for another eight years. I feel if I stay fit, I can continue till 60,” he said.