Jeev relishes captain’s role, earns praise from team-mates

He would have loved to be in the thick of the action on the eve of a big event like the EurAsia Cup but Jeev Milkha Singh is equally relishing his role as the non-playing captain of the Asian Team.

Jeev Milkha Singh (L) and Jeunghun Wang of Team Asia pictured during the practice round ahead of the 2016 Eurasia Cup.   -  Getty Images

He would have loved to be in the thick of the action on the eve of a big event like the EurAsia Cup but Jeev Milkha Singh is equally relishing his role as the non-playing captain of the Asian Team.

Now, a notebook has taken the place of a golf club and instead of strategising each hole, he is moving from hole to hole in a golf cart, exchanging a word or two with each Asian Team member, laughing, cracking a joke and suddenly jotting down a point in his book.

“This is different. Frankly, I have never worked as hard as I have for this event. Taking notes, studying players’ strengths, talking to them and so on. And I have loved every moment of it. It is now crunch time from Friday. But there is still lots to do,” Jeev said.

Always a keen competitor on a golf course, Jeev has 20 titles around the world and across Tours in Europe, Asia and Japan and has played Majors with distinction. The 44-year-old has played for India as an amateur in the World Cup and in teams for Asia against Japan and Europe.

His teammates have been most appreciative of his effort. Fellow Indians Both Anirban Lahiri and SSP Chawrasia know his stature in Indian golf and both hold him in high esteem.

“He was the one we looked up to when we were young,” says Lahiri. Chawrasia adds, “He has always been around. When I came to European Tour first, he advised me and even helped with sponsors and much else. So, when he says something, we listen.”

While other Asians like Thongchai Jaidee, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Prayad Marksaeng and even vice-captain Liang Wen-Chong as also Japan’s Shingo Katayama have played with him and appreciate the care he takes in every detail, youngsters like Byeong Hyung An, Jeunghun Wang, Nicholas Fung and Wu Ashun also have huge respect for him.

“As a captain, definitely, he (Jeev) is very good. As soon as I got here, I felt really comfortable. I felt like at home, I guess. He’s trying to make us comfortable any way he can, and every time he’ll tell us first or ask us first, how are you feeling, and he says, ask any questions if you want. I think it’s a really good thing.”

“That helps people who are shy and not talking at first. I think it’s good for him to ask us first if we have any problems. I really like him as a captain, yes, and as a person and a friend, yes,” said Byeong.

Wang and Katayama, speaking through interpreters, were very confident of the Asians’ good showing. Katayama said, “I’ve known Jeev for a long time. I’ve been playing the Japan Tour and I know him from always playing in tournaments, consecutively, always on the road. As the captain, he’s very kind and helpful, and I’m very happy to have him as a captain.”

Jeev played a perfect captain last night, meeting all team members and socializing with everybody.

“All these guys are great players; six of our boys are in the top 60. What can I say? I am just around to advise a bit and take care that they are in the best frame of mind. I am very proud of each of them. We have had team meetings, team outings, team dinners and that with practice sessions has helped a lot,” said Jeev.