From left: Mr AK Chandele (IGU), Mrs Champika Sayal (WGAI), Mr Anil Dua (Hero Honda Motors Ltd), Mrs Kavita Singh (president, WGAI) and Mr Aakash Ohri (DLF).
New Delhi, September 8: Women’s professional golf in India is all set to touch a new high with confirmation of the Hero Honda Women’s Indian Open from November 11-13, 2010 at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon. The event tri-sanctioned by the Ladies European Tour, the Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) and Women's Golf Association of India (WGAI) will carry a purse of US $ 300,000 (approximately €225,000), the highest ever for women’s professional golf in India.
The 54-hole tournament which has been signed for three years, through until 2012 will have a minimum field of 106 competitors and comprise a minimum of 40 players from the LET, 40 from the LAGT and 12 from the WGAI, plus invitations.
Alexandra Armas, Executive Director of the Ladies European Tour, hailed the tournament as a big step forward in the LET’s growth internationally. “The Ladies European Tour is delighted to be invited to tri-sanction the Hero Honda Women’s Indian Open. We are extremely grateful to the LAGT and WGAI, for enabling this fantastic new tournament to feature on the 2010 LET international schedule, as well as to Hero Honda, for helping to grow the game of golf.
| Mr Anil Dua addressing the media
“The LET last visited India in 2007 when a number of the top European players such as Laura Davies and Gwladys Nocera were able to participate and this tournament will provide another opportunity for the players to showcase their exciting talents to young and aspiring golfers in India,” she said.
In the past three years, the Women’s Indian Open has proved to be a stepping stone for golfers in the region. The inaugural winner, Ya Ni Tseng of Chinese Taipei since her Indian Open win in 2007 has gone on to become one of the global superstars of women’s golf to win three Majors, including two this year at the Kraft Nabisco Championships and the 2010 British Open. The 20-year-old Thai Phatlum Pornanong, who achieved back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009, has now emerged as one of the stars of Asian Ladies golf.
Mrs. Kavita Singh, President of the WGAI, said, “It is indeed a great day for us at the WGAI as Hero Honda, one of the biggest supporters of the sport of golf in India have extended their helping hand to pledge their support for the Women’s Indian Open, which has grown in stature in the past three years. In only its fourth year, the Hero Honda Women’s Indian Open has achieved a record purse of US $ 300,000. The sponsors have been very helpful in supporting both the Indian Open and the fledgling Women’s Professional Golf Tour. In the coming years this should see women’s golf take its rightful place as one of the avenues for a viable career for Indian sportswomen.”
|Mrs Sita Dawley, doyenne of women’s golf in India, Mrs Kavita Singh and
Mrs Champika Sayal with the trophy
Mr. Anil Dua, Senior Vice-President, Marketing and Sales, Hero Honda Motors, said, “Hero Honda has always supported Indian sports. For us at Hero Honda, golf has been a big focus apart from our commitment to disciplines like cricket, hockey, football and more recently the Commonwealth Games. Hero Honda has backed men’s golf through the years and has been sponsoring the Indian Open for the last six years, so it was only logical that when Women’s professional golf in India needed a supporter we stepped in. Now we have both the National Opens in golf in our sporting family.”
“I’m highly impressed that the tournament shall be tri-sanctioned with WGAI, Ladies European Tour and us. The Ladies Asian Golf Tour (LAGT) is very family-like with Ladies European Tour (LET) and the two have collaborated in many tournaments in Asian Countries like Singapore, Thailand and China. It should be a proud moment again for LAGT to collaborate with LET in India,” said Mr. Koichi Kato, President of LAGT.
“LAGT had the tournament with WGAI for past three years at the reputed DLF Golf & Country Club. In 2007 Taiwan’s Ya Ni Tseng captured the victory and in 2008 and 2009 Thai’s Pornanong Phatlum defended the title. As you know, these players like Ya Ni Tseng and Pornanong Phatlum are now playing the USLPGA Tour with successful results and Korean’s Shin Ji Yai also plays well in USA and Japan. They are all from our Asian Tour before they became bigger names,” he added.
Champika Sayal, Secretary-General of the WGAI said, “Young Indian professional golf players need to get exposure in International Professional Golf Tours. Playing amongst Ladies European and Asian professional players will enhance their endeavor in developing mental growth and physical agility in the game. Tournament wins will happen as our players mature and work hard in the coming years.”
The DLF Golf and Country Club is situated in the heart of DLF City in Gurgaon, Haryana, just 15 minutes away from the International Airport. The rugged Aravali Range forms a dramatic backdrop to the Arnold Palmer designed course.
The stunning parkland course sits amid sparkling lakes, meandering streams and a variety of flora and fauna. It is a par 72, 18-hole course which boasts world-class fairways, fast, true greens and a majestic clubhouse.
The course has played host to world-class events including the men’s Hero Honda Indian Open, the Johnnie Walker Classic, Avantha Masters, the DLF Masters and the past three editions of the Women’s Indian Open.
ABOUT THE LADIES EUROPEAN TOUR: Formed over 30 years ago, the Ladies European Tour (LET) aims to promote worldwide interest in the game of golf as well as to further the interest of its playing members. It has spawned some of the world’s greatest players such as Annika Sorenstam and Laura Davies. Website: www.ladieseuropeantour.com, Twitter: letgolf.
ABOUT LADIES ASIAN GOLF TOUR: Formed in 2005 and taking over where the previously known Kosaido Ladies Asian Golf Circuit left off in 2003. LAGT is more than just a Tour; it has lofty aspirations for the development of Asian ladies’ golf locally and internationally. It has a strong association with the R&A, Asia Pacific golf Confederation, the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour. Website: www.lagt.org
ABOUT WOMEN’S GOLF ASSOCIATION OF INDIA: The Women Golf Association of India is a non-profit organization whose objective is to uplift women through the medium of sport. 'Empowerment of women through sport', is the motto for the WGAI Tour, which was established in 2006. The Women’s Indian Open was first held in 2007. Website: www.wgai.co.in