'We need more public courses'

“It is 2-1/2 years of hard work that went in to bringing this event here,” said Thomas at the Karnataka Golf Association, that was supposed to host the tournament that pits an Asia-Pacific team against a European squad on the Ryder Cup model.  “We wanted to showcase India as the country has not had such a huge amateur golfing event before.
Everyone had doubts on our ability to host a big tournament here.

“However, I think the people who have made it despite the volcanic ash problem are immensly satisfied that we have gone far beyond their expectations. The KGA has been outstanding in the help they’ve given us in putting this event together. Naturally, when we cancel at the last moment because of elements beyond our control it is disappointing.”

Thomas said the junior programme currently on in India should benefit the country. “Europeans have excelled because they have many public courses, coaches and government support. A lot more money is pumped into grassroot programmes. From Indian golf point of view, we have set up an Indian National Golf Academy in the last two years. We have the Rolex Junior programme which is certain to produce good golfers in the next 2-3 years.

“But the most important thing we need is public courses. Unless, the government comes up with public courses we are going nowhere. Since golf is going to be part of Olympics in 2016, we need to put more focus on it as it is a definite medal prospect. We won a silver at the last Asian Games, it could be a gold this year. As I have been saying for many years, we have 300 professionals in India of whom atleast 14-15 are making over $100,000 in prize money every year,” he added.

Rashid sparkles
India’s Rashid Khan sparkled on the opening day of exhibition matches being played due to the cancellation of Sir Michael Bonallack Trophy.

Results: Fourballs: Chien-Yao Hung/ Chi-Hsien Hsieh bt Zhang Xin-Jun/ Jonathan Woo (1Up); Rashid Khan/ Mhark Fernando bt Han Chang-Won/ Kim Meen-Whee (2Up); Jesper Kennegard/ Knut Borsheim bt Yuki Usami/ Keisuke Otawa (6Up); Peter Spearman Burn/ Jordan Sherratt drew Carlos Pigem/ James Byrne (halved). Singles: Yuki Usami bt Chi-Hsien Hsieh (2Up); Rashid Khan bt Jesper Kennegard (1Up); Knut Borsheim bt Zhang Xin-Jun (5Up); Kim Meen-Whee bt Peter Spearman Burn (5Up); Kim Meen-Whee bt Peter Spearman Burn (5Up); James Byrne bt Jonathan Woo (1Up); Mhark Fernando bt Carlos Pigem (1Up).

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