Atwal predicts more glory days for Indian golf

Tue 18 Nov 2014

Atwal predicts more glory days for Indian golf

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Manila, November 18: Indian golf legend Arjun Atwal believes the sky is the limit for the new generation of stars from his country and predicted the likes of Anirban Lahiri and Rashid Khan could win Major championships in the near future.
Atwal, Asia’s number in 2003 and the only Indian to win on the PGA Tour, has marveled at the rapid rise of young talents such as Anirban Lahiri, Gaganjeet Bhullar and last week’s winner Rashid Khan in recent times.
Rashid Khan of India with the winner's trophy Rashid Khan of India with the winner's trophy
Lahiri, 27, and the 23-year-old Khan have already won twice on the Asian Tour this season while another Indian, S.S.P. Chowrasia, who won two weeks ago, sits alongside them in the top-10 of the region’s Order of Merit.
“It’s fantastic,” enthused Atwal who is competing in this week’s US$1 million Resorts World Manila Masters presented by 918.com.
“I saw Anirban winning in Macau and then Chow (Chowrasia) won at home and Rashid in Chiangmai last week. These guys are not afraid ... they come out and are ready to win. It’s great for Indian golf. They are fearless and I love that about them.”
Now into his early 40s, Atwal was amongst the first generation of Indian golf stars who stamped their mark on the Asian Tour alongside Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa, who are both former Asian Tour number ones as well.
The trailblazing trio won a combined four Order of Merit crowns and 21 tournament victories, which Atwal believes can be surpassed by the new generation of Indian stars.
“We were spurring each other on when we first came out.  Jyoti would win and then I would win and Jeev would win. We were inspiring each other at that time and hopefully the young guys are inspiring each other now,” said Atwal.
“For a country that’s mainly crazy about cricket and golf is not really popular, I think we are doing okay. I think these guys can go as far as they want. They can play on the PGA Tour, win on the PGA Tour and why not the Majors.
Venetian Macau Open - Round Four“There’s no limit for them. Anirban is only 27 and he’s already won five times on the Asian Tour, which is ridiculous. I told him that he’s better than what we were at his age. It’s called evolution and they have to be better. They can’t be just as good and I think it’s limitless for these guys.”
Atwal has not set himself any goal at the Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club this week and will take the proverbial ‘one shot at a time’ approach in his hopes to contend at the Resorts World Manila Masters.
“I’ve got no goals this week, just coming in to see where the game is at. I was deeply disappointed in Macau recently ... in the second round I had one bad hole and kind of threw myself out of the tournament. I’ll just take it as it comes. I’m also playing next week at the King’s Cup in Thailand. So we’ll build upon these two weeks and see where it goes,” said the Indian.
“I’m hitting the ball okay. Last week I went to the US Qschool second stage and missed it there. But the game is feeling okay. The Asian Tour has been really good to me. Every time I’ve asked for an invite, I’ve got them on most occasions. But it’s up to me, I’ve got to play better and get my card from here or get back into the top-20 on the Career Money list (to get his playing rights on the Asian Tour),” added Atwal, who is currently 23rd on the career list.
Sponsors of the Resorts World Manila Masters include Manila Southwoods Golf and Country Club, Bally Technologies, Aristocrat, International Gaming Technology, Renoir Implementation Services, Marriott, Philippine Airlines, Maybank, PLDT and Avis.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.