Golf in Dubai acted on Jeev Milkha Singh’s idea to bring Asian Tour to Dubai

Gary Meenaghan scours the Els Club to bring interesting snippets along the Dubai Open on the Asian Tour.

Jeev Milkha Singh is a two-time winner of the Asian Tour. Getty Images
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Indian inspiration

Jeev Milkha Singh, an Asian Tour member and ambassador for Golf in Dubai, was given credit yesterday for the idea of bringing the Asian Tour to Dubai. “Much of our gratitude needs to go to Jeev for introducing the idea of an Asian Tour in Dubai because Asia is an important and close ally in this part of the world,” said Mohammed Juma Buamaim, the vice chairman and chief executive of Golf in Dubai, the tournament promoters and organisers. A two-time winner of the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit title, Jeev thanked Golf in Dubai and Dubai Sports City for supporting the Dubai Open and making it happen. “I had the idea and Mohamed was good enough to take that on board and make it happen,” he said.

Trophy tour

The Dubai Open championship trophy was put on show yesterday – a gold-sculpted camel meant to symbolise Arab heritage.

Progress for Dubai

A major tournament at The Els Club represents a step forward for Dubai Sports City, according to Buamaim. “Dubai Sports City was a desert not so long ago,” he said. “This project started 10 years ago, and what you see around here is the story of how Dubai has progressed. The Dubai Open will, hopefully, be another success for Dubai Sports City along with cricket, football, golf and many other different sports.”

Under pressure

Golfers sitting near the No 60 mark in the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit are feeling the heat as the 2014 season comes to a close this weekend. Those who finish in the top 60 secure a full Asian Tour card in 2015, which includes opportunities to compete in the co-sanctioned events with the European Tour. A trip to qualifying school potentially awaits those who fall below the cut-off mark. Rattanon Wannasrichan, a 19-year-old Thai, is ranked 59th and is trying to stay cool. “I will try to play my best and stick to my game plan. There is no pressure at all. I will aim to finish in the top 20, which should be safe enough for me.”

Familiar ground

David Howell will be playing in his hometown this week. The Englishman, 39, has a winning history here, too. He claimed the 1999 edition of Dubai Desert Classic, defeating Tiger Woods and Lee Westwood. “Memories of that win are still fresh,” he said. “It is something I still cherish.”