Turnberry (Scotland):Jeev Milkha Singh on Tuesday pulled out of the British Open golf tournament because of a lingering rib injury, leaving Gaganjeet Bhullar as the lone Indian in the fray.
"When I went out yesterday to play 18 holes, it was hurting. When I was taking deep breaths, it was also hurting and when that happens, you know it's back," said a dejected Jeev.
"I'm only 60 per cent fit and I don't want to play a major championship in that condition. My game is good but I just don't want to take any chances this week," said the Asia number one in 2006 and 2008.
"I don't want to play in a tournament for the sake of playing in it but I want to be competing and be in contention. I want to be fit and I've always believed in that," he added.
In his absence, Bhullar will represent the country in the major which starts on Thursday, having qualified by virtue of his triumph in the Asian leg of the International Qualifying held in Sentosa in April.
Meanwhile, Jeev has been replaced by Australian John Senden in the tournament.
Jeev's pull out was more or less certain as the Indian had earlier vowed not to compete in a major tournament if he is not fully fit.
"The lesson I have learnt is that I am not going to risk further aggravating an injury and will tee up for the Majors only when I am 100 per cent fit," Jeev said. "I have promised myself I am not going to tee up, even if the tournament happens to be the Masters. There is no point of playing these big tournaments if you are not fully fit," he added.
The world number 41 sustained the injury at the European Open seven weeks ago but still decided to play in last month's US Open at Bethpage Black only to miss the cut. Jeev also had a word of advice for Bhullar who now would be carrying the Indian challenge.
"I told him to play some low shots, try to stay calm and be patient. When I was playing my first major, I was really nervous and I'm sure he's going to be too. But that's all part of learning and being a better professional," Jeev said.
Having spent the last fortnight here, Bhullar has played seven practice rounds at the Ailsa Course and the Kapurthala lad seemed keyed up for his first major experience.
"I'm now the lone Indian in the field this week and definitely more expectations will be on me. It's a big shoe to fill but mentally I'm ready," said Bhullar.
The youngster also seemed to have developed a liking for the layout.
"This is the best golf course you can ever think of. The fairways, greens and tees are all in perfect conditions and I know I'm going to enjoy this week," said Bhullar, one of the hottest young stars to come out of the Asian Tour.