| Jeev Milkha |
New Delhi: Jeev Milkha Singh, who played a crucial role in Asia’s Royal Trophy win over Europe, says the victory will give a huge fillip to the Asian and Indian golfers.
Jeev had beaten Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez during the tournament, which the Asian team won via play-off.
The Indian ace is also gearing up to host his invitation tournament — Shubkamna Champions — from Friday and said that is how he could give it back to the game.
When asked how important the victory was, Jeev said, “It’s very important for Asian golf. Golf is going to boost in Asia. Very good for Asian players’ confidence that they can play with the best in the world.
“For Indians, it shows that top players are coming out of India. Indian players have played in the Royal Trophy in the past and it will help the game improve in our country too.”
It was a do-or-die situation for Jeev against Miguel but the feeling of representing the team eased off the pressure for the golfer.
“It was a do-or-die situation out there. I was one down after the 14th hole. On 15th I got a birdie. On 16th it was a good putt about 20 footer. On 17th I made a great birdie to go 1 up. On the final hole, I had to half it with Miguel or win it for the team to go into the playoff. I knew it as team captain Joe Ozaki told me.
“It’s always good to do something for the team and as it was a team event. Pressure was high but that feeling of representing the team eased it a little bit.
The win against Miguel boosted Jeev’s confidence and it added that extra flavour for him. “Winning the cup for Asia was a big thing for me. It has given me a lot of confidence and I have a lot of respect for Mr. Miguel and he is a big player. We had a good battle out there. I think its such a game that whosoever holds the most putt wins and I had most putts coming in and then the tables turned and I won.”
Talking about the atmosphere at the Royal Trophy, Jeev said that he always knew they had a chance even though Europe was a stronger team on paper. “We always knew we had a chance. You never know anything as its golf and anything can happen.”
Being felicitated with lifetime achievement award alongside 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus and eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie of Scotland is for Jeev a driving force to play better.
“I think it was fantastic and it’s a great honour to be honoured and recognised alongside players like Jack and Colin.
“I think it’s an honour in itself for being recognised for what I have done for golf. It drives me more to do even more for the golf, and hopefully, I'll be able to do that in coming years.”