Jeev looking for double celebration

Last Updated 06 January 2010, 09:55 IST

His wife, Kudrat, is expecting their first baby at the end of January and although Jeev is reluctant to be away from home he could not resist the chance to represent Asia against Europe.

"This is an exciting time for me and while I am on such a high about things, I am hoping it will transfer over to my golf, so that I can have as great a week," said Jeev who will be an important cog in the Asia's title defence against Europe in the fourth edition of the event which gets underway at the Amata Spring Country Club on Friday.

"We still have a few weeks before the baby is due and everything seems to be going fine, so I was very keen to play here," he said.

According to Jeev, Asia's triumph augured well for the golfers from this continent. "It was so important for Asia to win last year, because that victory has done wonders for the profile of the Event. That result helped to establish it as a great and fiercely-fought Competition.

"I was probably one of the first Asian golfers to play regularly all around the world, but I see more and more players from the region now with the confidence and the desire to perform on the world stage," Jeev said.

As a member of the European Tour since 1978 - and a winner of three tournaments on that circuit - Jeev knows how much last year's defeat hurt the European golfers who would come down hard this time. "It was a big talking point, and the general feeling in Europe was that they must not let it happen again, especially as they also lost in the Ryder Cup for the first time in ten years.

"They have sent a very powerful-looking team to try to reverse that result, and it presents us with a big challenge," he said. "But I sense the Asian team is beyond the stage of being intimidated by the opposition, and if we can pull off another victory it would be a big feather in our caps," added the Indian.

Jeev is certain to partner compatriot Gaganjeet Bhullar and the 21-year-old rising star, whose breakthrough win came at the 2009 Indonesian President Invitational, said he was raring to go.

"I set my sights higher after I won my first Asian Tour title - but not this high, not yet," said Bhullar, admitting he was surprised when Asian Team captain Joe Ozaki picked him in the team. "I got the phone call when I was playing in the HSBC Champions event in China and I was so excited I could hardly concentrate. Luckily, that was a World Golf Championship tournament where there was no halfway cut!

"I am still bubbling over. I have watched all of the previous Royal Trophy matches on TV, and tried to imagine myself playing with and against these great players," said Bhullar. Looking ahead, Bhullar said he was banking on Jeev's calming presence to help him out.
"For it to happen so soon in my career is a very pleasant surprise. But it will be reassuring to have Jeev playing next to me. He is a wonderful player, and has so much experience.

"He has given me many valuable pieces of advice over the years, and I am sure it will be the same this time," said the youngster.

(Published 06 January 2010, 09:55 IST)

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