NEW DELHI, INDIA | At the start of
2011, SSP Chowrasia was looking at
events where he would have the best
chance of making money from the 15
starts he was likely to get from his
conditional status on the European Tour.
He targeted two early events in South
Africa, and missed the cut in both.
But he had a wild card up his sleeve,
the Avantha Masters, a home tournament for him. “I knew I would have a
chance in the Avantha at home and
could do well, but, frankly, I never
thought about winning,” he said.
And when he did, he wasted little
time calling his travel agent to cancel
previous bookings and wait for a new
schedule he would draw up next week.
“I want to play in Europe as much as
I can. I invested a lot while travelling to
so many venues and courses,” he said.
“I now know which courses are suited
to my game, and I can now handle the
cold and wet conditions in Europe. Now
is the time to put into practice what all I
learned the last three years in Europe.”
In the 73 European Tour events
Chowrasia has played since his previ-
ous win at the Indian Masters, his best
finish was a tie for ninth at the An-
dalucia Masters at Valderrama. Both
his European Tour wins have come at
home. India has had only four European
Tour events and Chowrasia has won two
– Mark Brown won the Johnnie Walker
Classic and Andrew Dodt of Australia
won the first Avantha Masters in 2010.
A couple of years ago, Jeev Milkha
Singh bought an apartment close to the
DLF course. He also has some cousins
owning another apartment overlooking
the course. On Sunday, a cousin put up
a “Good Luck Jeev” sign over his apart-
ment that was visible from almost any
angle on the golf course. But it obvious-
ly did not help as Singh managed only
a 75 and ended tied 11th. He had begun
the round tied for second.
The DLF Golf and Country Club is
unique in that it was the first in India to
be fully equipped for night golf. But professional golf has no room for artificial
light, and therefore a club with as many
floodlighting units as DLF has had to
devise additional local rules that require a player to replay his stroke if he
hits a unit. It doesn’t happen that often,
but it did early in the week when both
Singh and Thongchai Jaidee hit floodlight units with tee shots. Moreover,
they were playing in the same group.
The local rule regarding the floodlights
is that a player who hits one must replay the hole, which both players did.
Sujjan Singh, the Asian Tour rookie,
could have gotten a head start on the
season if only he had paid his European
Tour membership fee at the start of the
week and become an affiliate. Back in
2008, Chowrasia made history by be-
coming the first player to win (EMAAR
MGF Masters) on his first appearance
as an affiliate member, which basically
means he had paid his European Tour
membership fees before the tourna-
ment. Singh, if he had been a paid-up
member, he would have got a start in
the European Tour’s next event in Sicily.