indian cricketing legend Kapil Dev, who was recently inducted as a board member of the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) was invited by BBC to discuss the topic – “Can Kapil Dev’s stardust lift Indian golf?”
Excerpts from the episode are below –
Kapil Dev said that it was a nice gesture on PGTI’s behalf to invite him to be a part of their board, and when he was playing cricket, he had never even seen golf in real life. He got introduced to the game of golf post-retirement, and Kapil shared how he got introduced to the game. One day, while talking to his friend, he said, “I don’t want to go in public and just want to spend time with myself”. He said, “Let’s play golf.” Kapil was still doubtful about that, but his friend convinced him by saying they are going to see him only on the first tee, and he won’t find people after that on the course. Only him, his friends and his caddies will be there and nobody else in the vicinity while playing the sport for four hours.
But all that talk couldn’t be less accurate as Kapil reached the first tee at Delhi Golf Club in New Delhi; over 200 people were staring, making him nervous. After the first shot, Kapil fell in love with the game.
What he likes about golf is, unlike cricket, he doesn’t have to depend on anyone else to perform, it’s all about his shots and decisions.
Talking about professional golf in India, Kapil added, there are talented players and over 200 professionals who can play under-par any given day, but the money is still lacking. He hopes to get more money involved in the game, else players will drift away from the game, just for that one reason.
His immediate action plan involves opening avenues of bigger corporates involvement in the game and supporting India’s growth.
What golf in India needs is better tournaments with more significant prize money. As of now, the majority of events are played for ₹30 lakhs, with the exception of the ₹1.5 crores Jeev Milkha Singh Invitational in Chandigarh and the Tour finale in Jamshedpur. The addition of a few more events of that stature will help players to sustain even better.
Another exciting take Kapil had was making it more accessible to the players. He would like to request the top golf courses to let the pros play at their facilities for free, just like how it’s done on the international front, where the PGA or the European Tour players don’t have to pay anything to the courses, just on their tour eligibility. Kapil also added how the sport is so enjoyable either when you are playing with a 16-year-old or a 55-year old, which makes the sport unique.
Interested readers can listen to the complete discussion here –