New Delhi: Jeev Milkha Singh was voted by many as the Indian sportsperson of the year in 2006.He was the first Indian to play on the European and Japanese Tours, and the first Indian to win the Asian Order of Merit.Moreover, he is the first Indian to qualify for the Augusta Masters, the Wimbledon of golf, and the first Indian to break into golf's top 50 rankings. No wonder then, that he jumped an astronomical 339 places in the World Golf rankings, and earned a whopping Rs 13 crore in prize money after winning four titles in 2006.But the new year brings with it a fresh set of challenges for the 35-year-old."I want to play on the US Tour, want to improve my rankings," said Chiranjeev Milkha Singh, World Number 37 Golfer.Pioneer for Indian golfJeev turned pro in 1993 after playing collegiate golf in the US. He was certainly a pioneer for Indian golf venturing out to play in Asia, Japan and Europe. But it wasn't an entirely smooth ride, especially when injuries took their toll and he couldn't manage a win.But he never gave up hope, unlike his parents who were opposed to him taking to sports in the first place."Actually, we never wanted him to start playing sports, and the reason was quite obvious. I won six-seven golds at the Asiad and the Commonwealth Games for India and also broke the World record.""I even participated in 70-80 races at the international level. But despite all these achievements, I never got anything and that's why my wife and I decided never to let him enter sports," said Milkha Singh, Former Asiad & CWG Gold-Medallist.Thankfully things did not turn out that way, and the man hailed by Tiger Woods as the next big thing in golf is now preparing for a season where he will take on the world number 1 and the top guns almost every week. The first of those outings will be the Dubai Desert Classic in February.
Topics : Golf