This week, the European Tour travels to New Delhi for the fourth edition of the Hero Indian Open. Here are five things to look out for in the Indian capital.
1) Three-peat for SSP?
Since the inaugural staging of the Hero Indian Open in 2015, SSP Chawrasia has dominated the event. When competing in his home open, which joined the European Tour in 2015, Chawrasia has finished inside the top two six times, with two wins and four runner-ups to his name.
With his victory last year, Chawrasia became the first player to have won his first four European Tour titles in his home country, following the 2008 EMAAR-MGF Indian Masters, 2011 Avantha Masters and the 2016 Hero Indian Open.
If Chawrasia successfully defends his title again, he would become the first player to win the tournament in three consecutive years and he would also become the first player to win the same European Tour event on three successive occasions since Tiger Woods (WGC-Bridgestone Invitational - 2005, 2006 and 2007)
The diminutive Indian is well known for his remarkable scrambling ability, with a series of phenomenal recovery shots in his homeland over the years leading him to earn the nickname ‘India’s Seve’.
2) Indian dominance
Since joining the European Tour schedule in 2015, home players have thrived in the Hero Indian Open. The competition’s inaugural staging saw Anirban Lahiri take home the title after beating Chawrasia in a play-off – the first all-Indian European Tour play-off and the first Indian one-two in European Tour history.
Since then Chawrasia has led the way, winning in both 2016 and 2017, and has shown that home advantage makes a huge difference in India.
3) New kid on the block
Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma is aiming to continue his spectacular start to the 2018 season by winning his national open for the first time this week.
The 21 year old won his first two European Tour titles at the Joburg Open and Maybank Championship in Malaysia this season and also recorded a top-ten finish in his first World Golf Championship event at the WGC-Mexico Championship last week, having led after two of the four rounds in Central America.
Now back on home soil, the young Indian will be confident he can add more silverware to his trophy cabinet this week.
4) A tough test
DLF Golf and Country Club plays host to the Hero Indian Open for the second time this week, and the Gary Player-designed course showed its teeth last year.
During last season’s competition only seven players finished the tournament under par while champion Chawrasia was the only player in the field who had a stroke average of below 70 – just a fraction under at 69.5.
Accuracy over power will be key this week, with last year’s winner Chawrasia averaging just 266 yards off of the tee – the shortest distance of any player competing last year.
5) A Ryder Cup flavour
When he tees it up at DLF Golf and Country Club in Delhi this week, Thomas Bjørn will become the first current Ryder Cup Captain to play the Hero Indian Open.
He is joined in the field by 2016 Ryder Cup Captain and Major winner Darren Clarke, and former Ryder Cup players Jamie Donaldson, Stephen Gallacher, David Howell, Edoardo Molinari and Chris Wood.