India last won a medal in golf at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, and it has suffered a medal drought since then. However, the entry of professionals may fetch a medal or two for the country in the Hangzhou Games in China, starting next month.
“With a very strong field, we have good chances of wresting a medal,” Uttam Singh Mundy, the PGTI Chief Executive, told The Hindu here on the sidelines of the ongoing Coimbatore Open.
“In 2016, golf was inducted as an Olympic sport. It’s nice that now even the Asiad has permitted the participation of professionals. The idea is to have the best athletes taking part, be it amateurs or professionals,” he added.
Mundy had represented India as an amateur golfer at the 1986 Seoul Asiad, but could not strike it hot.
The current seven-member team comprising four men (Shubhankar Sharma, Anirban Lahiri, Khalin Joshi and S.S.P. Chaurasia) and three women (Aditi Ashok, Avani Prashanth and Pranavi Urs) looks solid.
“It is nice to see a great representation of our top athletes on the world stage. I am confident they will get into winning ways and, with it, end the medal drought.”
Mundy says the game has witnessed a lot of changes since his playing days. “Things are moving rapidly in the world of golf and especially for India. Over the years, we have always embarked upon something new, and that has helped the game. Our top professionals are now playing across the globe.”
Golf as a career option
He says a lot of youngsters are currently turning pro. “A few years back, there were not many but now they are looking at golf as a career option as the number of tournaments and the prize money have increased.”
“Even in PGTI, the quality has vastly improved such that in the last nine tournaments we have had different winners. Those days, the top five kept winning every other tournament. But now, in the top 20, there’s always a new winner. It’s just a question of clicking,” says Mundy and quickly adds the current crop will click big-time and wished them good luck.
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