Hero Women's Indian Open 2017

Blue Skies and Poinsettias bring cheer to #HWIO16

New Delhi, Nov. 7, 2016: The stylish DLF Golf & Country Club close to India’s Capital city New-Delhi had much to cheer today late afternoon when blue skies appeared just before sunset. After a gloomy forenoon report of the unprecedented haze that had taken toll on most of the Northern States in India over the past eight days could continue and worsen by the evening. The winds of change came around 4pm for most of us present at the venue had much to smile about.

As potted plants were being ushered in- the course staff had more cheer for onlookers- decorating the tournament village with myriads of “PONSETTIAS” adding to the festivities of the forthcoming Hero Women’s Indian Open week. Poinsettias the popular Christmas plant in deep shades of Red also known as “La flor de la Nochebuena” in Mexico, “Crown of the Andes” in South America and Flor de Pascua” in Spain. The Poinsettia plant is also considered to be a symbol of love!

Golf for women in India is growing- Just before Christmas in six weeks, Indian women’s golf will celebrate 100 years of its National match play championship All Indian Ladies Amateur Golf Championship which had its first edition in 1906 with a gap of 10 years when it was not held. The championship was dominated by British Ladies until the early nineteen seventies. A true celebration indeed as the younger generation of Indian golfers make a global impact in the game for the fairer sex a century later!

Going down memory lane, the first edition of Women’s Indian Open in March of 2007, was under the threat of stormy weather on the Pro-am morning- an unforgettable moment was the charming lady volunteers who had come all the way from Pune (a city located in India’s Western Ghats close to Bombay) to give support to the first ever Women’s Indian Open Championship. The ladies from Poona Golf Club were a cheery group who watched the clouds threatening to play spoilsport to the first event. In moments, they made a circle of ten holding hands. I was summoned to join them to chant away the clouds, which I did and followed their spirited chants. Looking at the sky that had started to drizzle for a few moments- there was a sudden gust of wind that blew the clouds higher and higher! The effect of some positive chanting was so strong that – we did not have any rain the whole week!

On an Optimistic note, the stars of the week include “BAMBAM” Brittany Lincicome from the United States who stands at 5ft 10 inches and is known to be one of LPGA’s longest hitters. Brittany making her debut appearance in India will be an inspiration to India’s youngest competitor in the field Sifat Sagoo a young Indian amateur playing her debut Indian Open at age 15. It seemed just few years ago that Dame Laura Davies appearance in India’s flagship championship in 2010, inspired young Indian players such as Sharmila Nicollet and Aditi Ashok who made global impact in bringing attention to India’s female golfing fraternity. India’s second money ranking player on Ladies European Tour, Neha Tripathi will be seen in action at the 10th edition this week with Indian Olympian Aditi Ashok and Vani Kapoor leader of the Hero Women’s Professional Golf Tour 2016.

With ten years of professional golf, it is encouraging to see that at least six players are scheduled to play in LET’s Q school in December this year. This change being witnessed is largely due to LET’s popularity as a multinational tour which has given impetus to women’s golf in India and the middle east.

With best understanding and better efforts, our hope is to see an Indian Winner and an unforgettable Tournament.

Champika N Sayal

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