Alvaro Quiros (Getty Images)
Our man on the ground at Jaypee Greens takes you behind the scenes of the Avantha Masters…
Cool character Quiros back in the fold
This week we bid a very warm welcome back to one of the Tour’s biggest characters, Alvaro Quiros. Senor Quiros has been MIA since playing in the WGC-HSBC Champions at the start of November. A persistent injury required surgery, and the Colossus from Cadiz has spent the last three months recuperating – and, as an ardent James Bond Fan, probably watching the complete series, from Dr No through to Skyfall. According to the Callaway reps here in New Delhi, Quiros has lost none of his prodigious length off the tee – and he will need his driver in full working order to conquer the Greg Norman layout here at Jaypee Greens, which at 7,347 yards is India’s longest. As one of the Tour’s cheeriest – not to mention chattiest – players, the fairways will certainly be a brighter place with Alvaro around…
Lahiri eyes a Delhi Double
Of the home contingent, perhaps Anirbarn Lahiri will approach this week with the biggest spring in his step after winning his third Asian Tour title at the SAIL-SBI Open on Sunday. It was Lahiri’s second straight win in the tournament, and his third triumph at Delhi Golf Club, having won the Panasonic Open there two years ago. Coincidentally, all three victories have also come after a play-off – it seems this cool customer’s regular sessions of meditation are paying off.
Edoardo Molinari may be struggling to get his golf game to click into top gear, but his favourite football team are having no such problems, with Juventus nine points clear at the top of Serie A and into the quarter-finals of the Champions League after disposing of Celtic last week. And Molinari is quietly confident, saying: “I’ve got big hopes for us this season. We played very well against Celtic, so I’m looking forward to seeing who we get in the quarter-final draw on Friday. If we get Bayern Munich it will be very tough, but I think we can beat most other teams left in the competition.”
Avantha Masters saved my marriage
As one of the Tour’s most eloquent and likeable individuals, time spent with David Howell is never time wasted and indeed he offered up another gem on Tuesday about his experience at the Avantha Masters a couple of years ago. ‘Howeller’ and his wife, Emily, were going through a rough patch at the time, so getting her to caddie for him might, on the surface, have seemed a recipe for disaster. But in the event, and perhaps against all the odds, the week brought them closer together and the pair are now happier than ever, especially after the arrival last year of their son, Freddie. So if your marriage is in trouble, bring the missus to the Avantha Masters!
Bottoms up, Finchy
Richard Finch has an unusual method of staying healthy this week, after ending up in a Delhi hospital two years ago. On the first day of the 2011 Avantha Masters, Finch – who finished runner-up the previous year – was placed on an intravenous drip after suffering from severe dehydration. In a bid to avoid the same fate befalling him this year, the jovial Yorkshireman will be taking a shot of whisky with his breakfast every morning. I’ll drink to that!