'Golf is not elitist at all'

TEEING OFF

A Padma Shri awardee, Jeev Milkha Singh carries the legacy of sports on his shoulders.

Excited : Jeev Milkha Singh DH Photo by B K Janardhan

Son of well-known runner Milkha Singh, this golfer went on to create a different sort of sporting history for himself.

In town recently for the ‘Louis Philippe Tournament’ at the Karnataka Golf Association, he spoke to Metrolife about the sport’s changing format and his life beyond it.

Known for not just his lineage but the quality of his game, Jeev believes shorter and team played matches will bring the audiences to golf.

“It is a very exciting format. It has a bright future for Indian golf. It will end up attracting a lot of spectators,” says Jeev.

It was at the age of 20 while on a golf scholarship in the USA when Jeev decided to take up the sport as a career. He was playing the ‘NTAA Division Two Championship’ at that time and had already made a name for himself in amateur golf tournaments.

 “I wanted to get a degree. But then I got an opportunity to live off what I was loving,” he says. Golf, he feels unlike many others, is not an elitist game. With great respect for the sport, he says, “Golf is not elitist at all. We golfers are the same as other sportsmen. Every game has a different way of discipline and so does golf. It is a game where no one is watching you and there is very little outside influence. It is a profession full of mutual respect.”

Though many accolades have come his way, he admits if not golf, his choice of profession would have been rather an ordinary one.

 “I would have done the normal thing — civil services, medicine or engineering,” he says. A pet fan and proud owner of two labradors, he owns and runs a trust for pets in Chandigarh. “I would like to do something for pets in Chandigarh,” he says.

He loves spending time with his labradors when not playing golf, amongst other things. He isn’t enamoured by holidays and considers being home like one.

“I spend quality time with my family when I am not playing golf. I am a movie buff and watch both Hollywood and Bollywood movies. I don’t believe in taking holidays with my family. Whenever I’m home, that is holiday enough,” he says.

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