For an estimated appearance fee of Rs. 15 crore, Tiger Woods played a round at the Delhi Golf Club and declared he would “love to come back.”
Between 8 am to 2 pm on Tuesday, around 5,000 golf lovers, including club members, corporate big-wigs and young fans thronged the course to catch a glimpse of one of the legendary names of the sport.
During the day, though countless photographs were taken of the 14-time Major winner, dressed in black trousers, blue T-shirt and a white cap, the event was ‘out of bounds’ for the electronic media and photo-journalists. After being made to wait for under two hours, some persistent media persons were reluctantly allowed entry into the Club.
Tiger, who skipped holes eight and nine, and posted a score of nine-under during the day, was elated with the way the day went for him.
“It’s hard to describe how much fun we had today. I do have to say though this was the narrowest golf course I’ve been to. I’m a pro for a living and I was nervous on those tee shots. I had a great time. I would love to come back.”
During his brief address to the crowd after the round, Tiger said, “One of my best buddies, Arjun (Atwal) back home told me so much about India. He said you need to get there (India). You can have a great time and blast. He was right.”
Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri, who joined the action in the three-hole Skins contest spread over the 16th to the 18th holes, were understandably excited to have played with Tiger.
“It’s very inspiring to play along such a great golfer. We make them larger then life, but it was good to know that he is a human being,” said Lahiri.
Kapur, part of last week’s field in Dubai where Tiger also played, said “Tiger grew up playing in a narrow course and he is such a straight hitter. Playing alongside Tiger was a great feeling. The 17th-hole birdie was a good moment, especially to do it in front of the home crowd.”
Among those who followed Tiger on the course was cricketer Murali Kartik, an avid golfer. “I remain a fan of Tiger’s swing — so simple and effective. I loved the way he warmed up for the round today.
“Using just one club, Tiger must have hit 30-40 balls and sent them to varying distances. He used a driver on the first hole (where he found a birdie after missing his eagle-putt) and nailed it to the middle of the fairway. Some of his shots during the day were simply amazing,” said the left-arm spinner.
Understandably, the crowd-management left a lot to be desired after thousands managed to gate-crash into what was a “private” event.