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Jeev in august company at Augusta

April 08, 2009 10:33 IST

Practice rounds with Greg Norman, acquaintance with Arnold Palmer and paired alongside Tiger Woods – Jeev Milkha Singh finds himself in august company at the Augusta Masters. 

Rubbing shoulders with the legends, Jeev first had his practice rounds with Norman and multiple-major winner Padraig Harrington before he got to exchange pleasantries with another legend Arnold Palmer at the Augusta National Golf Club. 

And to top it all, the Indian was soon handed a dream draw that paired him with the iconic Tiger Woods for the first two rounds of the event starting in Augusta on Thursday. 

"I'm excited about that and looking forward to it. It'll be great to have the opportunity to play with Tiger and it'll be interesting," an elated Jeev said. 

"I'll be a little nervous but I'll try to make the most of it and enjoy it. It is a pleasant surprise," said Jeev, who was paired with Woods in the 2006 HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai.

Jeev was also excited after a practice round with Norman, who will captain the International team against the USA in the Presidents Cup later this year. The Indian is in the frame to make Norman's team.

"It was a special day as growing up, I've always looked up to him and often watched him play. I had a good nine holes and we talked about general stuff but didn't touch anything about the Presidents Cup. I guess he wants to get to know the International players and I was fortunate enough to play with him," said Jeev.

The Indian, however, is determined not to allow the magnitude of the occasion overwhelm him over the next four days. 

Driving down Magnolia Lane for the third straight year has given Jeev the self-belief that he belongs to world's top echelon and the fourth place finish at the WGC-CA Championship further boosted his confidence that he can someday become Asia's first major champion. 

"It's great to come back to the Masters. Every time you are here, it's different. I'm excited and it's something really special. I'm happy with the game. I'm playing well and we'll see what happens," said the world number 31.

"My next goal will be to win a major. I think I've got  the game to win a major. I feel it all depends on the mindset and how you deal with the pressure. A lot of it comes down to the short game. I feel I do have the game and hopefully before my golfing career is over, I will have a major under my belt," Jeev said.

"The top-10 at the PGA Championship and the fourth in Doral, those results have given me more confidence. I'll slowly work on finishing better than fourth. One day, you'll never know what will happen," he added. 

Apart from six wins on the Asian Tour, Jeev has won four times in Japan and twice in Europe and the Indian asserted he was ready to break into the big league. 

"I've worked hard and there is more trust in my game and more trust in my golf swing. I'm always looking forward to the bigger events. That's why we play golf for, to prove myself at the highest level," he said.

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