‘Royal Trophy victory great boost for Asia’

Jeev Milkha Singh, who played a crucial role in Asia's Royal Trophy win over Europe last week, says the victory will give a huge confidence boost to Asian and Indian golfers. Jeev had beaten Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez during the tournament, which the Asian team won via play-off. The Indian ace, who turned 41 on Sunday, is in Delhi as he gears up to host his invitational tournament in Noida from Friday. He says the event is his effort to promote golf in India. Excerpts:

Your contribution was crucial in Asia winning the Royal Trophy, how special was the victory?

It was a very important win for Asian golf. Golf is going to get a big boost in Asia because of it. It's very critical for Asian players' confidence that they can play with the best in the world. For Indians, it shows that top players are coming out of India. Indian players have played in the Royal Trophy in the past and the popularity will help the game improve in our country too.

You beat Miguel Angel Jimenez to help Asia get to the play-off. What was going in your mind before the round?

It was a do-or-die situation out there. I was one down after the 14th hole. On the 15th I got a birdie. On the 16th I made a good putt which was almost a 20-footer. On the 17th I made a great birdie to go 1-up. On the final hole, I had to half it with Miguel or win it for the team to go into the playoff. I knew the calculations as team captain Joe Ozaki had kept me informed. It's always good to do something for a team. Pressure was high but that feeling of representing the team eased it a little bit. Winning the cup for Asia was a big thing for me. It has given me a lot of confidence and I have a lot of respect for Miguel. He is a big player. We had a good battle out there. I think the format is such that whosoever holds the most putt wins and I had most putts coming in and then the tables turned and I won.

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