Sport & Culture

Indian Golf Stars On The Rise

With a hole-in-one and strong showings from two of its best players, Indian golf fans are surely smiling.

Indian Golf Stars On The Rise
Credit: Golfstock (Flickr)

The British Open, the third major of the golf season, was a great one for India and one young man in particular.

The four days at Royal Lytham will never be forgotten by Anirban Lahiri. The 25 year-old was playing in his first ever major as he shot a hole-in-one.

It is the rarest of events in the sport and thrills fans and players alike. It is sure to help the sport in the South Asian nation. South Korea has become a major player in golf in recent years with other countries also making great strides but India has yet to really see the sport take off.

That could be about to change. "Just when I thought that it was fantastic, it gets even better," Lahiri said. "That's probably the icing on the cake."

"Made a good swing on it. It was looking a little right of the hole, but it got a really, really friendly bounce. I was just hoping it ended up close. When it goes in, everybody goes wild. I go wild. It was fantastic."

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“You are just looking around. You don't know how to express yourself," said Lahiri. "And then you see your dad jumping up out there blowing you kisses. These moments don't come every day.

It was the second moment to remember for South Asian golf fans in July as the previous week saw Jeev Milkha Singh win the Scottish Open.

Singh carried that form into Royal Lytham and the important thing was that both players made the halfway cut – the first time that India has had two golfers play all four days at a major tournament.

Conditions at the Open were not ones familiar to many Indian golfers with wind and rain making it difficult for all, making the achievement from both golfers doubly impressive.

"It is nice for me to make the cut, finally at the Open," said Singh. “It is a great thing for Indian golf. I am sure this will raise the interest and profile of Indian golf. Personally I am very happy for Lahiri.”

Any Indian golf fans wanting to get their hands on the hole-in-one ball and a piece of history will be disappointed. Even Lahiri himself seems resigned to the fact that he is not going to get it.

"The ball's with my dad. I don't think anybody can take that away from him. He is thinking right now what he can do with it. Let's see how creative he is."

Until now, no Indian has come close to winning a major with Singh’s ninth-place finish at the 2008 PGA Championships the best any has managed, but the future looks bright.