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‘Golf needs government help’

Anirban Lahiri (from left), SSP Chowrasia and Gaganjeet Bhullar, at the RCGC, on Wednesday. A Telegraph picture

Calcutta: Gaganjeet Bhullar wants the government to be pro-active and take golf to the masses.

“Let me tell you, golf is still not a common man’s sport. With most of our golf courses being run private, a middle-class person cannot afford to take up the sport.

“Especially as golf is now part of the 2016 Olympics, I’m looking forward to the day when the government will play an active role. Things can only change the day ministry of sports comes up with public driving ranges and golf courses.

“The next 10 to 15 years will be very vital We will have to work hard to popularise the game We cannot keep golf as a niche sport,” the 25-year-old said at a media conference, at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC), on Wednesday.

Gaganjeet is one of the five invitees to play in the McLeod Russel Tour Championship beginning on Thursday.

The Kapurthala golfer, who got this year’s Arjuna, a first in seven years, said he was over the moon after getting the prestigious award.

“I’m thankful to the Indian government for giving this award to a golfer after a gap of seven years. It gives a great sense of satisfaction.”

Ranked 148 in the world, Gaganjeet eyes breaking into the top-50 by playing more at the European circuit next year. “Right now, I’m ranked 148. Nobody cares about that ranking. It’s only when you come into the top-15 zone that people start looking at you.

“My goal is to move into the top-50 by playing more in the European circuit in 2014. That’s my goal.

“I played well this year. I started the year on a positive note, finishing second in the Avantha Masters. Then in the second half, I won the Arjuna. The year has come to an end with a high, winning the Indonesia Open.”

Terming this an ultimate tournament on the PGTI Calendar, Gaganjeet said: “This is one of the biggest tournaments on the PGTI calendar You have to respect that.

“At the end of the year, it comes down to this tournament. It’s a great opportunity for the top-six to win the Order of Merit.”