Chinnaswamy Muniyappa is indeed the star of the moment. The lad worked as a caddie at the Karnataka Golf Association (KGA) and has risen to become the first player from Karnataka to claim the Indian Open title. From a caddie to a champion, it has been a long road that the genial Muniyappa, now 35, has traversed.
It is even more important for him now. For, this is the Indian Open golf week. The most prestigious event in India’s golfing history, the championship, which teed-off in 1964 and is part of the Asian Tour now, is being held at the KGA course for the first time ever.
In fact, it has always been played in Delhi or Kolkata and this is the first time any other venue has had the opportunity of hosting it. Undoubtedly, as many have opined, this is the toughest Indian Open field ever. But as you mention KGA, you can never forget Muniyappa.
He made waves in 2008 when he won the Toyota Altis Eagleton Open and then went on to claim the Hero Indian Open in 2009 in a playoff against the South Korean, Lee Sung.
Now, Muniyappa has the unique but arduous task of performing another landmark feat at home and on very familiar terrain. Muniyappa, who turned pro in 1997, is sentimental as the championship tees-off today.
“It is a great feeling to be playing the National Open at home,” said Muniyappa, who has been troubled by injury of late. “My L4 and L5 disc were bulging and it was compressing the side of my back.
That’s why the pain went to my legs as well. I’m feeling a little bit better after going through a lot of physiotherapy and exercises,” said Muniyappa.
“It was disappointing to not play golf for the whole year but luckily I am able to make a comeback. I am feeling very excited for this week,” added Muniyappa.
Muniyappa recorded a win and 11 other top 10 finishes out of 15 starts in the 2007-08 PGTI season. His first professional win was the Toyota Altis Open at Eagleton in 2008. Muniyappa was also tied second at the PGTI Players Championship at Poona Golf Club, the Haryana Open and the 6th Tata Open.
Muniyappa was also the most consistent professionals during the 2006-07 PGTI season having registered five top 10 finishes out of ten starts.
His best finish came at the Emaar MGF PGTI Championship (third). He was placed ninth on the PGTI Order of Merit for 2006-07. He finished second at The Hindu Open 2003 in Chennai.
After the Indian Open win in 2009, Muniyappa surged to the top and was always a formidable foe at any event and in any field. Back for a tough tee-off after injury, it will come as no surprise if Muniyappa repeats his 2009 feat. He has the class for sure.