Harpal Singh Bedi
New Delhi: South African Ian Snyman, Indonesian Rory Hie, American Paul Peterson will headline the foreign challenge as top Indian professional including Gaganjit Bhullar, Rashid Khan, SSP Chowrasia, Shiv Kapur will battle it out for the top honours at the inaugural edition of the $500,000 DGC Open to be played at the Delhi Golf Club from March 24 to 27.
This will be the first Asian Tour event at the DGC since 2018 and the first professional event was held at the renovated DGC in October 2021
The field which includes 132 professionals plus six amateurs, has players from 21 countries with 19 players who have won on the Asian Tour, and many more who have achieved success on the Indian Tour.
As many as eight players have won Asian Tour titles on the DGC, but all on the older layout..
The cut will be applied after 36 holes and 65 professionals and ties will make it to the money rounds with the winner taking home US $ 90,000.
Kickstarting the event ,the nine-time Major winner, Gary Player, unveiled the glittering trophy for the event to be co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) here this afternoon.
The trophy, to be presented to the winner of the $500,000 tournament, is a replica of the iconic clubhouse of the Delhi Golf Club.
Speaking on the occasion, the legendary South African golfer Gary Player lauded the hard work and preparations put in by the DGC Club for the event ““I would give this course a nine out of 10,”
Player, 86, and the one of the fittest ever players the game has seen, was also the man who renovated the course, which in the 1970s was designed by his friend and five-time Open winner, the late Peter Thomson.
Seeing the course become ready for an international tournament for the first time post its redesign, Player himself was delighted at the transformation carried out by his company. “ “Overall I am very happy at the way the redevelopment has gone. I must also compliment the committee and members of the Club for the way they have maintained and utilised the course. This is a historic venue and one always feels hesitant about tweaking a classic course too much, but in this case, it has worked out very well.”
He also paid tribute to the Late Siddharth Shriram, who first contacted him for the renovation of the course
DGC President Manjit Singh, informed that ‘DGC Open’ was first conceptualised more than five years ago by Mr. Shriram and he was happy that it has finally become a reality.
“I must say we are pleased and honoured to be not only hosting the inaugural edition of The DGC Open but to also welcome a great golfer like Mr Player to our club. His company has done an outstanding job of renovating and improving our Lodhi Course which has hosted so many important moments in Indian golfing history.” Manjit added
Representing the players, was multiple Asian Tour winner, Shiv Kapur, who has also been onboarded as the Brand Ambassador of Mastercard, and Viraj Madappa, who won the first pro event on the redesigned DGC layout last year, which was part of the PGTI schedule.
“I am humbled by the honour and as everyone knows, the DGC is like my home, or the second home as we call the course” said Shiv
“. I am always trying to pick things that can be improved at any course, but after seeing the new layout, I must say I cannot find any.” And then looking at Gary Player he added , “When I do, I will surely point out.”
Madappa, one of the promising youngsters on the domestic scene, said, “The course is looking in great shape and challenging, too. In fact, I think I like it even more than before and I am looking forward to it.”
Uttam Singh Mundy, CEO, PGTI opined , “It was great to welcome back the Asian Tour after 2019. The Indian players will love the chance of playing at home. Meanwhile, the PGTI Tour has now grown a lot and 15-20 events, there are more created a lot more of opportunities.”
Unho Park, Senior Manager, Tour & Player Affairs, Asian Tour, who made his Major debut with Kapur back in 2006, added, “The Asian Tour has always loved to coming to India and is very pleased to be back after such a long gap. I wish all the players the very best.”
Manasi Narasimhan, Vice President & Head, Marketing & Communication, South Asia, Mastercard welcomed Gary Player to the event and also wished the players the very best in their endeavour to win the new trophy especially crafted for the event.