The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Jyoti, Arjun to tee off with Tiger
- A good finish in WGC event may open US PGA Tour doors for Indian duo

New Delhi: Asia No.1 Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal will become the first Indians to compete in a World Golf Championships (WGC) event when they tee off along side defending champion Tiger Woods in the WGC-American Express championship at the Capital City Club in Atlanta, on Thursday.

The $6 million championship is one of the four premier tournaments that comprise the WGC, organised by the International Federation of PGA Tours.

Both Randhawa and Atwal, along with former Asia No. 1 Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, earned their places in the championship on the basis of their performance in 2002 Asian PGA Tour where Randhawa won the Order of Merit crown, Jaidee was second while Atwal finished third.

Woods will lead a host of top-10 players in the world rankings. There is no cut applied at the championship and even the last placed player is guaranteed a part of the prize money.

The tournament assumes greater significance for the two Indians, as a good finish here could open the doors of the US PGA Tour for them.

A victory would earn them an exemption on any Tour in the world while a top-10 finish would give them a spot in next week’s Las Vegas invitational on the US PGA Tour, which will be played at the TPC at the Canyon in Las Vegas.

The money earned by Atwal and Randhawa will also count towards their respective Order of Merits on the European and Japanese PGA Tours.

“This is a huge opportunity for me personally,” Randhawa said in a press statement.

“I am looking at it as a chance to pitch my skills against the very best names in the world on American soil. I am playing well at the moment and am hopeful of doing well here,” said Randhawa.

Randhawa finished tied 66th at last week’s $5 million Dunhill Links championship.

For Atwal, more than a jump in the European Tour Order of Merit, he would be eyeing to make it to the US PGA Tour.

“It really doesn’t matter whether I finish 60th in European money list or tenth. Because of winning the Malaysian Open, I am already exempt for the next two seasons. But I can achieve my ultimate dream of playing in the PGA Tour if I do well this week,” said Atwal, who is currently leading the Asian PGA Tour money list. (PTI)

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