Cricket in peak, golf is emerging: Randhawa

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Golf has plenty of opportunity to grow in India where cricket has almost reached its peak, said top ranking golfer and Asian Tour Player of the Year, Jyoti Randhawa.

"Everything -- from Test to Twenty-20 -- has happened in cricket, which has reached its peak, but the game of golf has a lot to show to the country," Randhawa said.

"We have just began to show our talent in golf and we have vast opportunity to grow," said Randhawa who was here to take part in the Tata Open commencing here from tomorrow. Golf has gained popularity in the last 10-15 years which was not achieved in 50 years before that, said the golfer who has nine international titles under his belt.

"Only five to six golfers like Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal and myself used to participate in Asian circuit tournaments during mid-1990s but today, we have more than 21 golfers participating in them," said Randhawa who turned pro in 1994.

As Indian golfers have started to make their presence felt at the world-level, the knowledge of the game was widening among the general masses, he said during announcement of the Tata Open on Tuesday.

Sponsorships were pouring in to promote the game, tournament organisers were increasing prize money while the media were playing a role to popularise the game, he said.

"Golf is the fastest growing game after cricket in India. More and more people are taking up the game as the cost of golf kits were reduced by a quarter," he said.

Today, India is the only country organising top-ranked tournaments continuously for 25 to 30 weeks during December-January after US and European nations, he said.

The money being earned by a top golfer now was no less than that by a top ranked executive, he said.

To a question, he said many sports disciplines were not doing well at the international level as the person heading the sports body lacked knowledge of the game.

Majority of the sports bodies were being headed by politicians, industrialists or bureaucrats who did not have adequate knowledge about the game concerned, he said.

Referring to Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), the controlling body for professional golf in the country, he said it was completely a professional sports body controlled by professionals though there were industrialists in it.

"We need industrialists to pour money to promote the game," he said and advocated that sports bodies should be headed by professionals.

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