BENGALURU: Indian golfers on the Asian Tour and the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) are eager to get back to competitive action. But things look bleak at present.
Asian Tour events are getting cancelled regularly. Last week, the Panasonic Open in Japan, scheduled for September 24-27, also met the same fate due to the Covid-19 pandemic. India’s Viraj Madappa was planning to participate in that event.
The Asian Tour witnessed 23 events last year, but 2020 has witnessed just four so far due to the pandemic. The Shinhan Donghae Open in South Korea, starting September 10, now remains the last scheduled event for the year.
"I was planning to play in Japan (Panasonic Open), but that has been cancelled. It is a little uncertain as to when we will really start playing tournaments. There are times when there is no motivation. When you are practicing, there is always something (tournaments) to look forward, but that is not there as such now,” said Madappa, who has featured in all four Asian Tour events this year.
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The 22-year-old, who is presently residing with his family in Kolkata, is honing his skills at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club.
Even though the European and the PGA tours have restarted, life is a bit different for ones who make their living closer home.
Another golfer based in Kolkata Rahil Gangjee explains.
"When your competitive juices are flowing, you always want to go out there and play, compete against guys in tournaments. And you see other friends on various tours like the European and the PGA Tour, you get frustrated as you are not competing," said the 41-year-old, who feels some players on the PGTI may be hard hit. "Some players in the PGTI, their earnings are not high like that of Asian Tour. It is a difficult period for some PGTI players."
There is an air of desperation. Despite coronavirus cases in India and many parts of the world on the rise, players are willing to take the risk as well.
"I am just eager to go and play... see, the thing is there is always a risk when one is practicing on the golf course too. There is risk even when one moves out of houses for any kind of work. Also, in tournaments, all kind of safety measures will also be in place," said Bengaluru's Khalin Joshi.