Archive for the ‘tiger woods’ Category

Is it a sign of the times, that as India becomes a more dominant player in the economy of the world, they have a sporting hero emerging in the elitist sport of Golf?

Few years back, who would have reckoned that an Indian golf player’s name will be taken in the same breath as the leading players of the world like Tiger Woods? The small breed of golf fans in India, found solace in following the performance of the Fiji player, Vijay Singh, whose name was Indian. That was the closest that India got to golfing greatness!

And now we read that an Indian player, playing at the Augusta Masters, for the very first time, has made it to the cut, and will continue to play over the weekend. Also he has not ‘just’ made it, but reasonably comfortably, with a 3 over score card, the same as that of Tiger Woods.

Its a very creditable performance by Jeev Milkha Singh. We will watch with a lot of interest, his further progress at the Augusta Masters now.

Jeev Milkha Singh is the son of one of India’s foremost athlete and Olympian, Milkha Singh. Thankfully, Jeev did not pursue athletics but chose to make golf his sport!

** Update **
At the end of the third day, and going into Sunday, Jeev Milkha Singh was just 3 strokes behind the leader, at +4. That is amazing, as he is still in striking distance, and if he has a good day on Sunday, it could well see him surging ahead and getting closer to the leader! Waiting with bated breath..

Would we, in our lifetimes, have possibly seen sporting heroes, who might be considered to be the best ‘ever’ in their respective sports??

Lets try and pick some names.

Michael Jordan in basketball. I presume this will go through unanimously!

Schumacher. I am not much of a racing fan, but having seen the following, and the results he managed to notch up, maybe he qualifies.

Tiger Woods. Well, in terms of sheer numbers, he may have a distance to cover, to catch up with the big heroes of yesteryears, but he has many playing years left, and he seems to be at top form, still, so there is fair chance that he will emerge on top, by the time he is done. And there is enough evidence of his abilities, till date, to believe that he can justify the tag of being ‘best ever’!

Federer. Here is where I expect the most debate to come in. Sure, there was Samparas. And many others like Laver and Borg, and what not. But again, like Woods, at a relatively early stage of his career, Federer has shown an awesome game and dominance that makes one believe that he can lay claim to that position of being best ever. Okay, he needs to continue his performance at this level, for a few more years. But he is definitely out there.

Amongst the popular sports, these are the names that I could think of.

No, sorry, it does not work in cricket. First of all, there was Bradman. So….!
Also, even in present crop of greats, it is tough to make a call – Sachin or Lara or Ponting, etc. So we will not elevate any of them to anything even close to the ‘best ever’ levels!

The success of sports, its popularity with people, is based on having heroes in the sport.

I am hearing less and less of F-1 racing this year. I have never been fascinated by F-1 racing, but I know so many people who used to track it and also talk about it all the time. And now I am hearing a lot less of it. Is it because Michael Schumacher has retired now?? Does it need a news item of his visit to the training field, to regenerate some interest in the sport?

Likewise, back in the days when Prakash Padukone won the All-England Badminton title, all of a sudden, the sport became a big hit in India. Thereafter, it has now been relegated to an occasional small column in the inside sports pages of the newspaper.

For a few years, in between, post Samparas’ retirement, tennis was not being talked about much. Earlier of course, during the days of Becker, Lendl, Borg, McEnroe, Connors, Navratilova, Chris Evert, Graf, etc., the sport was extremely popular in India. Then again, during the days of Agassi and Samparas. But thereafter, the popularity dipped. People said that it was on account of many other sports emerging for the public interest.

However we find tennis returning to its old glory all over again. Thanks to Roger Federer. An amazing hero. A phenomenal success, who has rekindled interest in the sport.

Cricket in India, has always had its share of heroes, whether Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Sachin, or whoever. Hence it has never really dropped out of the popularity charts, irrespective of our win-loss record.

On the other hand, hockey of course, lost its popularity, once we stared losing internationally, and we also lost heroes. At this time, we see a huge movement in the form of the so called Premier Hockey League, being initiated to make hockey popular again. However for want of a hero in the sport, its not getting any decent traction. Inspite of all the efforts of ESPN/Star Sports. Dhanraj Pillay, the last known hero in hockey, seems to have disappeared and without him, the sport will not pick up.

Who cared for golf in India – I mean, amongst the masses. That is a sport which is so far away from a common man in India. But thanks to Tiger Woods and his immense popularity around the world, golf is known and discussed amongst common people in India.

Sports requires heroes.. undoubtedly.