Elated at joining the small list of Indian golfers who have been conferred with the Arjuna award, Gaganjeet Bhullar said the honour will motivate him to perform better at the international events besides inspiring youngsters to take up the game.
Bhullar became the 17th golfer and the eighth Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) member to be conferred with the Arjuna Award, the nation's second highest sporting honour.
"It is a very proud moment for me and my family. I would like to thank the Government of India for acknowledging the fact that Indian golfers are making the country proud with their performances at the international level," Bhullar said.
"This is a result of the hard work I have put in over the years and the strong support I have received from my family. This award will not only motivate me to achieve greater things but will also encourage many other young golfers in the country to work harder and succeed at the highest level," he added.
PGTI members who have won the Arjuna Award in the past include Ali Sher (1991), Amit Luthra (1996), Harmeet Kahlon (1997), Jeev Milkha Singh (1999), Shiv Kapur (2002), Jyoti Randhawa (2004) and Arjun Atwal (2007).
Gaganjeet joined the illustrious list as a result of his extraordinary performances at the international stage since turning professional in 2006.
The strapping six-footer from Punjab, who is known for his booming drives, has bagged 14 professional titles in the past seven years.
Bhullar, one of only seven Indians to appear in a Major championship, has won four titles on the Asian Tour to emerge as a major force in Asian golf. The 25-year-old also has a title to his credit on the European Challenge Tour.
"I've been on top of my game over the last one year as I have focused hard and given my hundred per cent. I now aim to win my first event on the European Tour," said Bhullar, whose ultimate ambition is to play on the PGA Tour in the United States.
PGTI Director Padamjit Sandhu congratulated Bhullar on being named for the honour.
"We at the PGTI extend our heartiest congratulations to Gaganjeet Bhullar for being conferred the prestigious Arjuna Award. Gaganjeet's hard work and dedication over the last few years have been exemplary, and this award is very well deserved and a true recognition of his achievements," he said.
Bhullar has achieved many milestones along the way in his journey to the pinnacle of Indian golf.
Bhullar was India's leading amateur from 2004 to 2006. He also claimed a silver medal in the team event at the 2006 Asian Games in Doha.
The talented golfer posted his first professional win during the 2009 PGTI season after coming agonisingly close to victory on several occasions. He bagged five titles on the trot during an outstanding 2009 season.
The 2009 season also saw him qualify for his maiden Major championship, the British Open.
Bhullar bagged his first international title the same year with success at the Pertamina Indonesia President Invitational on the Asian Tour. His tied ninth finish at the Czech Open 2011 was his first top-10 in Europe.
The golfer from Punjab capped a memorable 2012 season on the Asian Tour with victories at the Yeangder Tournament Players' Championship in Taipei and the Venetian Macau Open.
Bhullar is currently placed second on the Asian Tour Order of Merit thanks to a runner-up finish at the Avantha Masters 2013, a European Tour co-sanctioned event.