Golfers, especially in Delhi, mourned the loss of industrialist Siddharth Shriram, who succumbed to Covid related complications at the age of 76. He was a pillar of strength and support for golf since a time when very few others were interested.
Go back to 1994, when Mr Shriram, asked me at his house to “design a new, outstanding professional golf tournament.” And so the Honda – Siel PGA Championship was born which shook up the domestic golf scene. At a time when most purses were around Rs 1 to 2 lacs, the Siel PGA announced a purse of Rs 15 lacs ( equal to US$45,000 at the time). Soon the purse was raised and a Honda car was given away to the winner. Foreign professionals were flown in for the first time in a domestic pro event, a media center was set up, a massive junior clinic was conducted by Daniel Chopra and Arjun Atwal; Kapil Dev participated in his first competitive event – there were many firsts that Mr Shriram established with this event that persisted for 10 years and took the PGA of India Tour to a new level of consciousness.
He supported Ladies Golf in North India for 35 years and then the Delhi Golf Club’s annual summer Junior Training Program for around 20 years. He represented Indian media at Augusta Masters and wrote a daily column in the Business Standard for 15 consecutive years. Such was his passion and commitment.
And he was always passionate – a deep thinker about what really needed to be done. He served as President of the PGA of India from 1995 to 1999 and was responsible for setting up a professional management structure for the tour. He served as President of the Delhi Golf Club in 2018-19 and made a big contribution in the remodelling of the green complexes by Gary Player. So when he got involved in the sport, he ensured he took bold and lasting action with long term consequences. He was not a dabbler – he was committed and backed his conviction with investment of ideas, time and money.
I remember his study at home was full of business books and magazines and in hundreds of them, pages and articles were marked with post-it’s – so he could find and revisit interesting ideas and reports. He would call every once in a while with an introduction to someone with an interesting idea in the golf business he had met somewhere in the world on his travels.
Always exuding positivity and energy – right till when i last spoke with him at Delhi Golf Club in late March. And of course he always welcomed feedback on his Masters articles.
He will be sorely missed in the golf community and by everyone who ever had the good fortune to work closely with him. May his soul Rest in Peace !