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The million-dollar event

You can have as many multimillion dollar events as you want, but there is no taking away from the national open. Call me oldfashioned, but for me that is ‘the’ tournament because it packs history and there is a certain amount of prestige attached to winning your national championship.

Prabhdev Singh | Print Edition: August 10, 2008

Prabhdev Singh
Golfers and motorcycles don’t necessarily go together. For some reason you can’t picture Phil Mickelson in a leather jacket, tight leather pants and boots, roaring into the Augusta National Golf Club. Fancy, flashy and fast cars are more like it. Of course, Jyoti Randhawa is an exception but this macho golfer won’t be seen with anything less than a 1,000cc throbbing between his legs. So, when Hero Honda ventured into golf about a decade ago, the fit was a bit of a mystery till Pawan Munjal cleared the air. “I know I can’t expect golfers to be riding the motorcycles we make but it’s all about brand recognition. I want people to know about Hero Honda.” Fair enough.

The fact that the Managing Director and CEO of Hero Honda Motors Limited also happens to be a keen golfer helps the cause of the game. The company started by sponsoring a hole-inone prize on the Indian tour, went on to become the umbrella sponsors of the tour, held the Hero Honda Masters for many years and then finally settled on the Indian Open. To me that was a masterstroke. You can have as many multi-million dollar events as you want, but there is no taking away from the national open. Call me old-fashioned, but for me that is “the” tournament because it packs history, and there is a certain amount of prestige attached to winning your national championship. He may be a Yamaha fan but Randhawa loves this Hero Honda do, having won it thrice so far. As it happens, so does Munjal, who has just upped the stakes to a whopping million dollars.

U.S. Kids ‘Gold’ Set: One for the juniors
When he took over the tournament in 2005 with the prize money at $300,000, the deal was to increase the booty by $100,000 every year, making it a $600,000 affair this year. But Munjal has pulled out his cheque book and inked in a cool $1 million for the October event. “This is a reflection of our strong commitment to the promotion of the game in the country… I am sure the event will now attract more marquee players from the international arena, which will add to its increasing popularity.” With a venue like the Delhi Golf Club and this kind of money to play for, that is likely to happen.

Tip to try: For all those parents who can’t turn their kids into IAS officers, doctors or engineers, here’s another career option—golf. Look at the perks: You travel the world, work in a healthy environment, and, if you are good enough, make large amounts of money. To get started, you’ll need to get your kid some equipment and U.S. Kids, a leading manufacturer of junior golf sets, is now available in golf stores across the country. U.S. Kids also makes golf shoes and gloves for juniors. Starting with toddlers about three feet tall, the company caters to kids just over five feet on the chart. The beginner “red” coded three-piece set with stand bag costs Rs 4,900 and at the other end of the scale, the ‘gold’ 10-club set with stand bag retails for Rs 15,900. There’s also a ‘Tour Series’ 12-club set with bag for Rs 25,000. A worthy investment if your offspring has the makings of a Jeev Milkha Singh or a Jyoti Randhawa.

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