After a decade-long wait, India’s oldest golf club is set to see the return of big-ticket golf next winter. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) will play host to the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) year-ending championship, with the highest prize purse in the country.
PGTI has joined hands with McLeod Russel, the world’s largest tea producer, to organise the championship for the next three years — 2012 to 2014 — at RCGC. The first edition of the four-day tournament will start on December 12.
Apart from the top 60 Indian professional players from the Rolex Ranking 2012 (as on the week before the event) playing domestic tournaments, the tournament, titled ‘Mcleod Russel Tour Championship’ may see some internationally renowned Indian ace golfers like Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal .
“There will be five sponsor spots to be invited by Mcleod Russel. But they would have to be Indian players playing in higher tournaments like European or US tours. Also, they have to be a member of PGTI. So, you can expect players like Jeev Milkha Singh or Arjun Atwal as invitees. However, it is difficult to confirm now as it depends on the players’ schedule,” Padamjit Singh Sandhu, director, PGTI, said.
The tournament has the highest prize purse in India, and it will be increased each year. While the inaugural tournament in 2012 boasts of a purse of Rs 1.25 crore, the prize money will be increased to Rs 1.35 crore the following year and Rs 1.5 crore in 2014.
The tournament will be a 72-hole stroke-play championship and there will be no cut after 36 holes. All players will be guaranteed prize money. PGTI has also joined hands with the newly launched “Ten Golf” for television rights, that will offer deferred telecast of the tournament all the four days.
Speaking on selecting RCGC, Kolkata, as the venue, the managing director of Mcleod Russel, Aditya Khaitan — who along with Lakshman Singh recently won the ‘TAKE Solutions’ World Corporate Golf Challenge India-2012’ held in Bangkok for Team McLeod Russel — said, “Kolkata and RCGC are etched in tradition and culture and it is our small way of giving back.”
“It is a matter of pride to host the tournament, as RCGC will once again see the return of a big event. The last big event we organised here was India Tour in 1999,” said Gourav Gosh, committee member (in-charge of professional golf).
Established in 1829, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club, popularly known as ‘Royal’, is the oldest golf club outside the British Isles, the oldest being the Royal and Ancient, St Andrews in Scotland, the home of golf.