Buoyed by the honour of winning the Asia Pacific Lifetime Achievement Award alongside 18-time major champion Jack Nicklaus and eight-time European Tour Order of Merit winner Colin Montgomerie, Jeev Milkha Singh returns to the Omega Dubai Desert Classic with an extra bit of confidence.
“The aim is to try and win the tournament if I stay healthy and injury-free. It will also depend on the mindset that week and how you deal with the pressure,” said the Indian golfer, who received the prestigious award on the eve of the recent Royal Trophy where he played his role by beating Spain's Miguel Angel Jiménez one-up before Asia pulled off a thrilling play-off victory over Europe after the contest had finished level at 8-8 in Brunei.
“Somehow, I have this good feeling that I would do well in Dubai as I am striking the ball pretty well,” said Jeev, winner of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in July, who will join a star-studded cast headlined by World Number Seven Lee Westwood and defending champion Rafael Cabrera-Bello in what he called one of his favourite events on The European Tour.
“Injuries did a take toll on my body. I no longer play that many tournaments in a season as I used to, but the good thing is that I have achieved the level of fitness I need to compete on the Tour,” said India’s most decorated golfer, who celebrated his 41st birthday in December.
“I have won tournaments in different parts of the world, but winning in Dubai would be special. Being an ambassador of ‘golf in DUBAi,’ the tournament is very close to my heart. Dubai is a fantastic place and is fast becoming one of the most important centres for world golf. I have always felt very good being there. In fact, I can call it a home away from home,” said the son of legendary Indian athlete Milkha Singh, better known as the ‘Flying Sikh’ who won 77 of the 80 races he ran.
“My father is a great motivator and if anyone takes his advice, he is bound to excel in life,” said Jeev, who has won 19 titles worldwide, including four on the European Tour, besides topping the Asian Tour Order of Merit standings twice in a glittering professional career spanning 20 years.
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, Vice Chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi, commented: “We are delighted to welcome back Jeev, who is a well-established international star and enjoys a tremendous fan-following.
"Without doubt his contribution to Asian golf has been immense and he is also considered among the elite on the Japanese and European Tour," he added. “Jeev is not new to Dubai, having featured in many Omega Dubai Desert Classic events and he has always been one of the most popular players among the Indian expatriate community, in particular.
"Winning the Asia Pacific Lifetime Achievement award alongside someone like Jack Nicklaus and Colin Montgomerie speaks volumes of his dedication, fighting spirits and honesty in the sport,” he said, adding: “He is a true ambassador of golf.”