The legendary Tiger Woods Tuesday kept his date with India as the world number one golfer not only tamed the difficult Delhi Golf Course with a nine-under score but also conquered hearts of the thousands of people who came in hordes to have a glimpse of him.
In a lucrative 18-hole exhibition match, Woods mesmerised the spectators with his immaculate sense of the game as he hardly put a foot wrong and had most greens in regulation in the DGC, which is known for its narrow fairways.
The 38-year-old Woods, who is in the capital on an invitation from Hero MotoCorp CEO and Managing Director Pawan Munjal, showed why he is considered to be the greatest golfer as he went about his business with consummate ease on a warm Tuesday morning.
The top golfer has been reportedly paid Rs 15 crore to play a round of golf with Munjal and his guests.
A visage of Woods appeared around the fairways after compere Alan Wilkins announced the golfer's arrival at the first hole. After a few practice shots and exchange of pleasentaries, Woods teed off amid a couple of thousands people who had thronged the DGC, which was supposed to be a hushed-up private event here.
Dressed in a blue tee-shirt, black trousers and white cap, Tiger started off with a wonderful shot straight down the middle, which was the hallmark of the man all through the day as he played along with his host Munjal exclusively for the first nine holes and returned with a card of six-under.
In the next nine holes, Woods was accompanied by Rajiv Singh of DLF and Justice Vikramajit Sen of Supreme Court on the 10th and 11th holes, while leading Indian woman golfer Sharmila Nicollet played a couple of holes at the 12th and 13th, before media honchos Prannoy Roy and Aveek Sarkar joined the golf great at the DGC.
On the last three holes, it was a skins game between two teams -- Pawan Munjal-Tiger Woods vs Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri, which ended on an even keel with Kapur winning the 17th hole with a birdie and Munjal and Woods pocketing the 18th hole with both hitting birdies on the last.
Anirban Lahiri, who also played three holes with Woods, heaped praise on the golf legend.
"It was an amazing experience. It is very inspiring to play along such a great golfer. We make them larger then life, but it was good to know that he is a human being. That inspires us to be like them," Lahiri said.
"It was fun playing alongside him. I had a light hearted discussion. He had a real taste of India. He has lost a bit of weight and he was talking about his diet and food.
"For him to come here, he needed to adapt to the conditions. The way he started and despite missing a few puts to fire so many birdies is fantastic. In DGC, if you don't hit the bushes, you don't know that they exist.
"It is great to know a person like him. He is a global personality. I'm looking forward to play with him in some big events. I want to earn a spot and play along with him like I did with stalwart Sergio Garcia in CIMB Classic last year," he added.
Shiv Kapur, who hit birdies on the 17th and 18th holes out of the last three holes that he played, said: "Playing alongside Tiger was a great feeling. The 17th hole birdie was a good moment, specially to do it infront of the home crowd.
It was a fabulous and different experience.
"We spoke about food and about the different course conditions in Dubai and DGC. Tiger also grew up playing in a narrow course and he is such a straight hitter," said Kapur, who had played in the Omega Dubai Desert Classic where Woods had also featured in.
India's best women's golfer, Sharmila Nicollete was also excited about her experience of playing alongside Woods.
"It was a dream come true to play along with Tiger Woods. I was thrilled as well as nervous. It would always be a great memory for my life."
Disclaimer: We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the NIE editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.