SPORT

Vijay Singh advises Indian pros to be patient

NEW DELHI NOV. 9. On his third visit to India, golf's `practice junkie' Vijay Singh, who has amazingly moved to number three on the USPGA Tour's all-time money leaders, advised Indian pros to build a solid foundation before aspiring to join the lucrative Tours.

Vijay was forthright in assessing the strengths of the current lot of Indian golfers. "I know Jeev (Milkha Singh) and Arjun (Atwal). They have been trying to get the USPGA Tour card and I hope they manage to get it,'' said Vijay here on Saturday.

"It really depends on how they progress. Jyoti (Randhawa) is another good talent, but first one should have some sort of foundation before moving ahead,'' he added.

"One should not try to jump ships so soon in the career. It is not going to help,'' he suggested.

Vijay is in India to play $45,000 Bilt Skins Golf game with Randhawa, the reigning Hero Honda Masters champion, Harmeet Kahlon and top amateur, Kapil Dev.

The richest-ever single payday event in India, the Skins tournament will be played at the Arnold Palmer-Signature DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon on Sunday.

Currently ranked World No. 7, Vijay is fresh from his season-ending Tour Championship win, which fetched him $900,000 and an additional $500,000 bonus for winning the Fall Finish.

Vijay had been in India in the early eighties when he was playing on the Asian PGA Tour. "Then I wanted to earn money and the Indian Open was part of the Asian Tour,'' he recalled his visit to India.

Vijay, who is managed by the International Management Group (IMG), termed the Bilt Skins Golf as an outing and a commitment to fulfil. "Its not a tournament as such and coming all the way here to play for just one day is difficult,'' said Vijay.

But he added that he being a serious and hard-working golfer, he would definitely like to win it. "Now that I am here, I have to do my job well.''

The Skins Golf format is basically made for television. The players compete at each hole for major prize money. A player must win a hole outright to win the prize money for each hole and if two or more players tie then the prize money gets carried forward to the next hole. Basically, the format rewards aggressive play.

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