New Delhi, Jan 6: Indian golf is finally out of the tough situation it found itself during the pandemic and the period soon after. The recent tie-up with the DP World Tour, earlier called the European Tour, and the PGA Tour, seems to have galvanized the Tata Steel Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), which concluded a successful 2022 season last month.
Uttam Singh Mundy, who was a proven winner on the Indian pro Tour in his playing days, is relishing his role as the Chief Executive of the PGTI. “We have seen ups and downs in the last few seasons, but 2022 showed a definite upturn. The agreement with the DP World Tour and the PGA Tour was a big boost for our membership. The membership is happy with the fact that we will have a lot more of events alongside DP World and there is also a pathway to bigger Tours.”
However, one of the biggest sweeteners for the PGTI was that the winner of the PGTI Order of Merit winner would get a membership card into the DP World Tour. Also, the second placed finisher would get a place in the final stage of European Tour Qualifying School.
“This was a big incentive for our Tour,” says Mundy. “Manu Gandas who topped the Order of Merit after a superb contest with second placed Yuvraj Sandhu, is now a member of the DP World Tour. HIs category, which is above that of the DP World Tour Q-School winner, will give him a lot of starts. Now we have Manu alongside Shubhankar (Sharma) on the DP World Tour and it encourages others to strive more.”
The fact that Top-10 on the DP World Tour and not otherwise exempt will get a passage to the PGA Tour is something more to aspire for.
Mundy is also happy with the addition of two European Challenge Tour events in India. “Two Challenge Tour events ahead of the Hero Indian Open which is on the DP World Tour, is a big thing for our players. To be able to play so many events on home soil gives them a great chance. At the end of the day, players move up when they play well and for that they need to get more opportunities and a pathway. We feel this arrangement with the DP World and PGA Tour gives us road map for that.”
He also opines that this arrangement is a recognition of Indian golf’s growth. “We have got a direct membership for a player alongside some of the older Tours, like Japan and Korea, which have been around for so long,” he said.
PGTI’s Mundy also feels an arrangement with the world’s two biggest Tours will also enhance the image of the domestic Tour and greater sponsorships. “We had about 22 events (in 2022), including a couple of internationals, and we now hope to have about 25-28 events in 2023. There is greater interest in sponsorship and that is also a big takeaway for us,” concludes Mundy.