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Indian golf on fast track, says Jeev

February 05, 2008 17:57 IST

Former Asian number one Jeev Milkha Singh, making an appearance at the EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters this week, says golf in India will continue to be the fastest growing sport with the inclusion of top class events in the country.

Singh, who emerged as Asian Tour's number one in 2006, admitted that the sport in the country is experiencing a boom as he hopes for more young guns to come out and compete on the international stage.

"It is the fastest growing sport in India. Golf has attracted a lot of interest among the youngsters over the years and with top events coming in, it will be good exposure for the kids as well," said Singh, who gained an invite to the US Masters this year.

"I think it is a matter of time when India can match the growth of the sport in China. We have a lot of potential and kids who can make it on the big stage. I would love to see new young faces and I will give them my support. I'm confident that we will witness more new players making a breakthrough. With two of the first three events on the Asian Tour to be staged in India, it signals the growth of the sport here," admitted the Chandigarh-born star.

Singh will compete in the US$ 2.5 million Asian Tour and European Tour event this week alongside compatriots Jyoti Randhawa, Shiv Kapur, and Arjun Atwal at the Delhi Golf Club. The other top names present include Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and Prayad Marksaeng, Korea's Lee Sung, South African Ernie Els, Irishman Darren Clarke, and David Howell of England.

Since his appearance last October, the 37-year-old Singh will relish his return to the Delhi Golf Club hoping for a solid start to the year.

"I do enjoy playing at home, there's always pressure and expectations are high, and I do understand that.  But that's what we professional golfers are there for. I have to handle the pressure and get the most out of it. I enjoy playing at home.  And if I can do that in the future, also, I would love to come back here.

"I have been playing well and hoping to continue my form this week. And also for all of the kids to watch the top players playing this week, I think it's the best thing that could happen for Indian golf," said Singh, who finished in the top-20 in his Dubai outing last week.

Compatriot Atwal, who will compete on home soil since his last appearance in 2005, shares a similar sentiment with Singh as he was pleased to return to home ground.

"I'm really happy to come back home. Also I get to see my family as well, because my parents are here and my wife.

"I had three months off, so I practiced really hard and worked on my game and it's pretty good.  You know, I played one tournament on the Nationwide Tour in Panama, and finished tied second so getting the right step two weeks ago," said Atwal, who has been competing in United States since 2004. He lost his card at the end of 2007.

The other Asian Tour hotshots out to impress this week include big-hitting Australian Scott Hend, Simon Yates of Scotland and Malaysian duo of Iain Steel and Airil Rizman.