New Delhi:The Indian Masters, the country's first-ever European Tour event seems to have hit the rough quite literally.
The $2.5 million tournament is a bone of contention between the Professional Golf Tour of India and the sports' apex body, the Indian Golf Union.
The PGTI are upset at not being involved in the planning of the event.
"It's basic protocol to come into the country and sit down with the professional body which ever it is, PGAI or PGTI, , mean they can't just walk into the country and say ok we are going to give you 20 spots, who has given the right to the European tour to just give us 20 spots," said Digvijay Singh, Member, PGTI.
The issue of spots in fact is unique in itself. The Asian Golf Tour offers India 40 spots at the Hero Honda Indian Open, the number that the PGTI is now looking to get even at the Indian Masters.
However European tour events in Europe generally offer single digit spots to domestic players since those countries don't have domestic tours as large as India.
The second part to this conflict is the Asian Tour's unhappiness with its European counterpart. They've called its approach aggressive, in violation of the protocol of the International Federation of PGA Tours, and one that also leaves the Asian Tour out of the loop.
"There are certain unwritten rules and certain understandings between federation of international golf tours so ((bridge)) what happens is, if and when the European tour comes into India or the Asian region, it has to essentially in consultation with the Asian tour," said V Krishnaswamy, Media Advisor, Asian Tour.
But while the aggrieved parties have been left out, the European Tour said that its future strategy does not allow for any co-sanctioned events in Asia.
The PGTI for its part does not want to alienate the Asian Tour since its their gateway into the international circuit. But in all the chaos, it s the Indian pro who's got stuck in the middle. The IGU however is confident the interests of the sport will be well taken care of.
"PGTI will come one board with us, I have also spoken to the CEO of the Asian tour who was very candid and mentioned very clearly that they are not going to be a hindrance to the tournament nor can they stop the tournament.
"As regards where we stand, we had discussions yesterday with the golf in Dubai people and they are committed to bring the European tour to India and we are committed to the promotion and development of golf in the country and we are bringing the tour to India," said Wing Commander Satish Aparajit, Secretary General, IGU.
An ironic situation for an event that was pitted to take Indian golf to another level altogether. But while the PGTI and the IGU settle their differences, we hope that India still gets to see the likes of Ernie Els and Retief Goosen tee off next Febuary.