Victory takes away all pain for Jeev

Updated: 01 December 2008 06:37 IST

There was excitement all around but Jeev Milkha Singh was calm as he had been through the day.

Sentosa (Singapore:

There was excitement all around but Jeev Milkha Singh was calm as he had been through the day. Calm as he was when he missed those putts, and when he made them to leave behind his more famed rivals and win the $5 million Barclays Singapore Open.

He did not betray emotion when his main rivals missed a few crucial putts, too. But when asked about his immediate feeling, he admitted, "It still hasn't sunk in. I played very good but I think I was very fortunate; the golfing gods were on my side. I think those two guys - Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els - hit some good putts on the last hole and I was fortunate enough to win and I'll take it."

At the start of the week, he said he will cut down on the gruelling schedule, but now he was 'happily tired'. "I was tired. But when you get into the hunt, all that tiredness goes and you start thinking about winning the title. That is when you work on getting stronger and focusing hard on the job."

As for his injuries, he said: "If the injuries keep coming and the titles keep coming, I won't complain anymore. But honestly, I need to slow down."

"I injured my neck yesterday when I was hitting some balls. Thanks to my physio Philipa. If they (physios) are not there, we won't be able to play. She was nice enough to rub my back and loosen my muscle up so at least I could swing. She helped me out at the Indian Open also."

Asked about wrapping up the Order of Merit with this victory, he said: "I won the Order of Merit in 2006 and if I can do it right now, it's not confirmed. (Mark Brown would have to win all four remaining tournaments, but Jeev is also entered in two.). Any Order of Merit, anywhere in the world, for any pro, especially in Asian Tour where I started my golf, is great. This Tour has given me a lot and if I can do it again, that would be fantastic."

Was it a match play situation with Harrington? "Not really till we got to the 16th hole. In the last three holes we knew we were the only ones right there and after that Ernie Els came in."

"When I three-putted from 10 feet, missed a small putt, I said to myself: you've just got to hang in there, you made a mistake. I was very angry then, but I just told myself I could not allow it to affect the game. I was fortunate to come through," he added.

"The start is very important. If you get off to a good start, you know that you can fall back in the end to something. But when it comes down to the last few holes, you try to follow your courses. It is very tough then because it becomes a situation of man-to-man going at each other."

When asked what point did he think he had a chance, Jeev said, "When I saw the leader board on number 17, I said I've got a chance, and that's why I took a three-wood on the last. I thought if you get a three-wood on the fairway, you still have a chance to make a four, if you hit a driver and you hit it off the line, and I was hitting my driver that well after the tee shot on that 12th."

"I am just going hit a three-wood and then I can hit an iron and then I can hit a wedge in there if I make it four that would be good enough, if not, at least the other guys have to make a birdie to take me for a play-off. Normally I hit a driver on the 18th, I held back and I hit a three-wood."

In terms of how he rates the win, Jeev said, "This comes close to the Volvo Masters, I rank this as the second best win of my career."

"My family has been very supportive, my parents, my sister and my friends. They've supported me through the good and bad times. Honestly, the spectators were trusting in me and hung around. And my wife who's here has been a big support in my life."

Next what? "A party tonight for sure." And yes, he also confirmed he would be back to defend the Singapore Open.

Topics : Golf
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