India will welcome a new tournament in 2010, the €1.5 million Avantha Masters, which will be played at DLF Golf & Country Club, New Delhi, from 11-14 February.
A three-year agreement with the Avantha Group, one of India’s most prominent business conglomerates, signals India’s strong intent to become a leading golfing destination through what will be the first event in a new joint venture between the Asian Tour and The European Tour – to be known as EurAsia Golf Ltd – with the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) as the other partner in the tri-sanctioned tournament.
The European Tour paid two visits to the thriving city of New Delhi in February 2008, for the Indian Masters at Delhi Golf Club, won by local hero S.S.P. Chowrasia, then the Johnnie Walker Classic at DLF Golf & Country Club, where New Zealand’s Mark Brown captured the title. Both events were also sanctioned with the Asian Tour and PGTI.
As well as Chowrasia, Indian golfers have made a notable impact on the world stage in recent years. Jeev Milkha Singh, who won the Asian Tour Order of Merit last year, and countryman, Arjun Atwal, are both three-time European Tour winners, while Shiv Kapur – who lost out in a play-off for the South African Open on Sunday – and Jyoti Randhawa have triumphed on their home continent.
DLF Golf & Country Club, designed by Arnold Palmer, was first opened for play in 1999. It also boasts India’s only night golfing facility, and a clubhouse designed by architect Hafeez Contractor. The 7,250-yard, par-72 course is situated below the gently rolling Aravalli Hills, in park ground that includes five lakes, waterfalls, around 14,000 trees and signature Palmer white-sand bunkers.
George O’Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “Professional golf in India has taken an enormous step forward in recent years, assisted by the superb achievements of a number of players, led by Jeev Milkha Singh.
“The European Tour has always enjoyed a rich and variedtournament portfolio and we are delighted to be returning to New Delhi, and the DLF Golf & Country Club, for the first event in our new collaboration with the Asian Tour, under the EurAsia banner, and the PGTI. We would like to thank Mr Gautam Thapar, the Chairman of the Avantha Group, for sharing our vision for professional tournament golf in India and partnering our Tour, the Asian Tour and the PGTI in what promises to be an exciting three year agreement for the Avantha Masters.”
Padamjit Sandhu, Director, PGTI, said: “The year of 2010 will redefine and reaffirm the potential of professional golf in India over the years to come. The Avantha group, under the able and strategic leadership of Mr Gautam Thapar, Chairman & CEO Avantha Group and President PGTI, has been instrumental in the revival, growth and consolidation of professional golf in India, and the tri-sanctioned Avantha Masters further consolidates the groups commitment to take Indian professional golf global.
“Our sincere thanks to the European Tour, the Asian Tour and the Avantha group for partnering with the PGTI to help create the Avantha Masters. We look forward to hosting a successful tournament in 2010 and are confident the event will mature into a key week on The European Tour schedule.”
DLF Golf & Country Club www.dlfgolfresort.com
Avantha Group www.avanthagroup.com