Arjun Atwal

The golfing community in the country stood as one to salute the outstanding achievement of Arjun Atwal, who became the first Indian to qualify for the elite US PGA Tour.

Atwal endured a gruelling six-round Qualifying School at the Orange National County Club in Florida to tally 12-under 420.

He finished tied for the seventh place and was among the 34 players who received their cards for the next season of the US PGA Tour.

Hailing Atwal's achievement, ace golfer Jeev Milkha Singh, who successfully managed to get his Japanese PGA Tour card after finishing 13th in the final stage of the Q-School in Tokyo, said:

"I think Arjun deserves every bit of it. He has had a fantastic season and what better way to finish it than achieving your childhood dream? He has proven himself with victories on the European Tour, and I see no reason why he should not do well in the U.S. He has the game for the PGA Tour."

Fellow professionals on the Hero Honda Indian Golf Tour also expressed their happiness on Atwal's success.

"This is simply awesome. The best thing that ever happened to Indian golf. Arjun always had the belief in himself and in his abilities," said Gaurav Ghei, the first Indian to feature in a major championship.

"Arjun has been improving every year and I was always confident that he will make it to the PGA Tour," said Amritinder Singh.

Rahil Gangjee of Kolkata, who has grown up seeing Atwal play, said, "He has been trying for the PGA Tour for the past four-five years, and now that he has made it, I think I am more happy than him. Watching him has done wonders for my swing's rhythm."

Ashok Kumar, widely considered by many as the next superstar of Indian golf said, "He deserves this. Not only is he a great player, he is also a very good human being. I am personally indebted to him as he has helped me several times."

Veteran Ajay Gupta added "Brilliant is the word that comes to mind. Arjun's achievement has opened up the door for other Indian golfers to go the distance. He is a trend-setter."

Young Rahul Ganapathy called Atwal's performance "Phenomenal" and added: "It's an eye-opener for us players as to what we can achieve."

Rafiq Ali, who is playing some hot golf at the moment, felt that Atwal's feat would "spark off a revolution like Sachin Tendulkar did in Indian cricket."

Legendary cricketer Kapil Dev was ecstatic on the accomplishment of his close friend. "This is a phenomenal achievement by Arjun. I somehow had the feeling mid-way through the Q-School that he would make it to the PGA Tour. He is extremely talented and I also know that he will do well against the top players in the world," said Kapil who partnered Atwal in the Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland recently.

"I would rank this as the biggest accomplishment by an Indian golfer. Arjun has provided a lot of hope and boosted the morale of Indian golf," said Brandon de Souza, President, Tiger Sports Marketing.

Arvind Khanna, President, Professional Golfers Association of India (PGAI), in a message to Atwal said, "It is a tribute to your unwavering dedication towards the game, and a proof of your supreme skills that you have managed to find a place amongst the very best players in the world." Atwal also received compliments from Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Asian PGA, and MD, Hero Honda Motors, whose tournament, the $300,000 Hero Honda Masters, he has won twice.

"Having had the pleasure of handing over the Hero Honda Masters trophy to you twice, I take personal pleasure and pride in your success. You have won several titles in the past, but this must rank as the most outstanding achievement in the history of Indian golf," said Munjal in a message.