Charismatic Spaniard Rafa Cabrera Bello has confirmed his participation in the 2017 edition of the Hero Indian Open, to be played in New Delhi from March 9 to 12.
In the past year the 32-year-old has established himself as one of the most consistent golfers on the European Tour.
In 2016 he had six top 10 finishes, including three second places – at the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, Omega Dubai Desert Classic and UBS Hong Kong Open – and missed just one cut in 27 starts around the world.
From World number 114 in December 2015 he rose to number 27 at the end of December 2016.
Last year he also finished fifth at the Rio Olympic Games, and had a memorable Ryder Cup debut, taking 2.5 points from three matches including winning his fourball in the company of Sergio Garcia against JB Holmes and Ryan Moore.
Now ranked at number 26 in the World Golf Rankings, Cabrera Bello is the second highest ranked Spaniard after Garcia, and will be the best current (at the time of the Hero Indian Open) ranked player to play the tournament, which will be held at the Gary Player course at the DLF Golf & Country Club.
This year Cabrera Bello had a great start in the Middle East with Top-20 finishes at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, Commercial Bank Qatar Masters, and Omega Dubai Desert Classic
“The Hero Indian Open has been a last minute addition to my schedule - in fact I only confirmed last week,” said Cabrera Bello, who will fly to India from the World Golf Championships in Mexico. “It is going to be a long flight from Mexico to India, but I am looking forward to it.
“Modestly I am going to say that I have good results all over world also, so why not in Asia? Sometimes I find it difficult to adapt to the greens. I particularly like softer grass, but I enjoy the challenge of playing on all surfaces, that makes you a better player and that is also one my goals.”
Talking about Spanish players coming to India, he said: “I know Miguel (Angel Jimenez) came there a couple of years ago, and I also played in India some years ago, so I am looking forward to it.
As for the quality of Indian players, Cabrera Bello added, “I have played with guys like Jeev Milkha, SSP (Chawrasia), Shiv (Kapur) and Anirban (Lahiri). They are strong players, they play in a natural way and don’t have a mechanical swing, almost self-taught in way. It’s great to see them and others coming up.”