Breaking down the Professional Golf Tour of India - 6 things every Indian golf fan should know
An all-inclusive look at the history, players, calendar of events and people/sponsors behind the running of the PGTI
What is the PGTI?
Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), the controlling body for professional golf in India, was formed in September of 2006 as the successor to the Indian PGA Golf Tour, which ran from 1997 to 2006. Mr.Gautam Thapar, Chairman & CEO, Avantha Group is President of PGTI.
With over 300 members today, PGTI has a Governing Board comprising leading Indian golf professionals and eminent personalities, and corporates as patrons. PGTI’s objective is to promote professional golf in the country, and create more competitive playing opportunities for its members.
PGTI is recognized as a ‘body by the players for the players’, and operates in the same manner as most other international professional tours. PGTI is the ideal platform for Indian golfers to hone their skills, enhance their careers, and finally go on to compete at the highest level in the European and US tours.
Under the strategic leadership of Mr. Thapar, PGTI has, in a short span of three years, gained recognition from the European Tour and the Asian Tour. It has also been inducted as a member of the prestigious ‘International Federation of PGA Tours’ and is acknowledged worldwide as the official sanctioning body of professional golf in India.
The foundation has now been firmly established to continue the growth with a strong, positive trend and help Indian players excel in the international arena.
With media partner Ten Golf aggressively promoting golf, leading Indian and international brands are looking at partnering with PGTI to leverage the extensive electronic and print media coverage. PGTI’s strategic tie-up with Rolex saw this respected international brand come on board as the 'Official Timekeeper'.
The PGTI became a member of the International Federation of PGA Tours in 2009, but its events do not carry World Ranking Points, except for the Indian Open and the SAIL Open, which are co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour.
PGTI is now looking to further strengthen its partnerships with public and private stakeholders, and remains committed to taking the sport of golf to the masses and across the country.
September 2006, Mr.Gautam Thapar is elected President of the Professional Golf Tour of India.
Under Mr.Thapar’s strategic leadership, prize money on the Indian tour grows by over 250% in three years.
Long-term partnership signed with Rolex.
June 2009, Mr.Thapar accepts invitation to become a Board Member of the Asian Tour.
July 2009, PGTI inducted into the ‘International Federation of PGA Tours’, the highest governing body for professional golf in the world.
Formed in 2006, Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI) is the recognised official body of professional golf in India. PGTI's objective is to promote professional golf in the country, as well as to give players an opportunity to be involved in the decision making on all aspects of the game.
Calendar of events
Globally successful Indians who play on the PGTI
Jeev Milkha Singh - 13 wins
Volvo China Open 2006 (co-sanctioned with Asian Tour)
Volvo Masters 2006
Bank Austria Golf Open 2008
Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open 2012
Philippine Classic 1995
Asian Matchplay Championship 1995
Philip Morris Asia Cup 1996
Lexus International 1999
Barclays Singapore Open 2008
Japan Golf Tour
Casio World Open 2006
Golf Nippon Series JT Cup 2006
Nagashima Shigeo Invitational Sega Sammy Cup 2008
Golf Nippon Series JT Cup 2008
Arjun Atwal - 10 wins
Wyndham Championship 2010
Caltex Singapore Masters 2002 (co-sanctioned with Asian Tour)
Carlsberg Malaysian Open 2003 (co-sanctioned with Asian Tour)
Maybank Malaysian Open 2008 (co-sanctioned with Asian Tour)
Indian Open 1999 (RCGC)
Hero Honda Masters 2000 (DLF G & CC)
Star Alliance Open 2000
Hero Honda Masters 2003 (DGC)
Dubai Open 2014
Chattanooga Classic 2008
Jyoti Randhawa - 9 wins
Hero Honda Masters 1998 (DGC)
Hero Honda Masters 1999 (DGC)
Indian Open 2000 (Classic GR)
Singapore Open 2000
Volvo Masters of Asia 2004
Indian Open 2006 (DGC)
Indian Open 2007 (DGC)
Singha Thailand Open 2009
Japan Golf Tour
Suntory Open 2003
Anirban Lahiri - 7 wins
Maybank Malaysian Open 2015 (co-sanctioned with Asian Tour)
Indian Open 2015 (DGC) (co-sanctioned with Asian Tour)
Panasonic Open India 2011 (DGC)
SAIL-SBI Open 2012 (DGC)
SAIL-SBI Open 2013 (DGC)
CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters 2014
Venetian Macau Open 2014
Gaganjeet Bhullar - 8 wins
Indonesia President Invitational 2009
Asian Tour International 2010
Yeangder Tournament Players Championship 2012
Venetian Macau Open 2012
Indonesia Open 2013
Shinhan Donghae Open 2016
Bank BRI-JCB Indonesia Open 2016
European Challenge Tour
Gujarat Kensville Challenge 2011 (Kensville G & CC)
SSP Chawrasia - 5 wins
Emaar MGF Indian Masters 2008 (DGC) (co-sanctioned with Asian Tour)
Avantha Masters 2011 (DLF G & CC) (co-sanctioned with Asian Tour)
Indian Open 2016 (DGC) (co-sanctioned with Asian Tour)
Panasonic Open India 2014 (DGC)
Resorts World Manila Masters 2016
Gaurav Ghei - 3 wins
Gadgil Western Masters 1995 (DGC)
Mercuries Taiwan Masters 2006
Pine Valley Beijing Open 2007
Shiv Kapur - 3 wins
Volvo Masters of Asia 2005
European Challenge Tour
Gujarat Kensville Challenge 2013 (Kensville G & CC)
Dubai Festival City Challenge Tour Grand Final 2013
Ali Sher - 2 wins
Indian Open 1991 (DGC)
Indian Open 1993 (DGC)
Rashid Khan - 2 wins
SAIL-SBI Open 2014 (DGC)
Chiangmai Golf Classic 2014
Chikkarangappa - 2 wins
Asian Development Tour
TAKE Solutions India Masters 2014 (Eagleton)
TAKE Solutions India Masters 2015 (Eagleton)
Mukesh Kumar - 1 win
Panasonic Open India 2016 (DGC)
Chiragh Kumar - 1 win
Panasonic Open India 2015 (DGC)
Digvijay Singh - 1 win
Panasonic Open India 2012 (DGC)
Himmat Singh Rai - 1 win
ISPS Handa Singapore Classic 2011
C Muniyappa - 1 win
Indian Open 2009 (DLF G & CC)
Rahil Gangjee - 1 win
Volkswagen Masters China 2004
Format of Events
A typical Professional Golf Tour of India event is played across 72 holes on 4 days. The format of events is Stroke-Play: Stroke play, also known as medal play, is a scoring system in the sport of golf. It involves counting the total number of strokes taken on each hole during a given round, or series of rounds. The winner is the player who has taken the fewest strokes over the course of the round, or rounds.
The field at a regular PGTI event consists of 120 golfers wherein half of the field and ties make the halfway-cut and play the final two rounds for money on the weekend. Players get a chance of entering the tour by playing in the qualifying school series where 40 players get full playing rights for the season.
Players make it to a tournament on a variety of different exemptions: Medical exemption, Tour spots, Club spots, Sponsor exemption, Qualifying school, Order of merit champions, Tournament winners.
Prize money ranges from Rs 30 lacs to Rs 1.5 crores. PGTI currently has over 300 members.
The privileged association between Rolex and golf dates back to 1967, when Arnold Palmer became a Rolex Testimonee. This charismatic American, one of golf’s "Big Three", contributed to popularizing golf and giving it a worldwide dimension. By recognizing his pioneering sprit and achievements on the course, Rolex would irrevocably link itself to some of the sport’s most memorable moments, players and tournaments.
Since 1967, the relationship between Rolex and golf has continued to thrive. Today Rolex is not only associated with the most important and prominent bodies governing golf worldwide but also with the principal professional tours, competitions and personalities. Its choice to partner with the sport of golf is a logical one. Flawless timing, precision and control are distinctive hallmarks of both a Rolex timepiece and the performances of great golfers making this one of sport’s iconic partnerships.
In men’s golf, Rolex sponsors the four Major tournaments, universally recognized as the pre-eminent contests on the golfing calendar: The Masters, The Open Championship, the US Open and the US PGA Championship. Each of these competitions, with their unparalleled heritage and unique traditions, are held in such high regard that even a single title brings the winner membership in golf’s elite.
Rolex is Official Sponsor of the World Golf Championships. This global series of events is the first to be co-sanctioned by the world’s top six golf Tours. It is fitting that the championships are sponsored by Rolex, well known for pushing boundaries in the pursuit of excellence. The brand also supports the PGA European Tour, the PGA Tour and the inaugural Dubai World Championship.
Other Rolex sponsorships include The Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup. These are unique in that golfers play, not as individuals, but as a team. The Ryder Cup, held since 1927, is contested biennially between the United States and Europe with the venue alternating between Europe and the United States. The Presidents Cup, created in 1994, pits the best American players against an international team representing the rest of the world (excluding Europe) every two years. Similarly to The Ryder Cup, the Presidents Cup takes place alternately in the United States and at an international destination.
Over the years, Rolex has acknowledged the achievements of many of the most famous golfers by making them Testimonees. In addition to Arnold Palmer, the list includes two other outstanding players, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus.
A number of players currently on the professional circuit are Rolex Testimonees. They include 2010 Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie, Bernhard Langer, Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen, Adam Scott, Luke Donald, Camilo Villegas, Martin Kaymer, Jeev Milkha Singh, Liang Wen-Chong and 2008 Masters Champion Trevor Immelman.
Other Rolex endeavours
Since 2003, Rolex has sponsored the Rules of Golf, set out by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. With a press run of four million copies, this handbook is the international reference on the subject.
Finally, in an effort to link sports and ecology, Rolex has supported the Golf Environment Organisation since 2006, a foundation that encourages environmental sustainability in golf.
TEN GOLF is India's first 24 hours dedicated Golf channel. Apart from TEN Sports, TEN Action, TEN Cricket & TEN HD, TEN GOLF is the fifth channel of Taj Network catering to the needs of million sports lovers. TEN GOLF has more than 144 days live coverage of 36 European Tour International events and around 104 days of 26 Asian Tours events (Live & Highlights)
Sportskeeda will provide unprecedented exclusive coverage of all PGTI golf events with a spotlight on top golfers as well as the lesser known golfers to propel them on to bigger and better prospects.
PGTI will find a prominent presence on the company’s website and other social media channels to make the Indian sports audience aware of the incredible job that the PGTI has done in growing Indian golfing talent and bringing together all golfing entities in India to support the cause of growth of the sport.
Through this digital media partnership, Sportskeeda will attract premium luxury brands to support the PGTI and Sportskeeda’s efforts towards golf in India and potential sponsors will come to the fore.
Sportskeeda envisions a great future for the sport of golf in India and intends to support the growth of the sport by documenting tournaments and what goes on behind the scenes on the PGTI. Sportskeeda will be the catalyst for the PGTI to becoming recognised worldwide and it will act as a channel to take PGTI global.
PGTI will become a bigger tour through this partnership which will revolutionize the image of Indian golf and take its appeal to the masses. People will now be able to understand the sport of golf and soon the common Indian man will not be in the dark over the sport of Golf and specifically, the Professional Golf Tour of India.
Sportskeeda has been the instrumental player in covering niche sports in India; it has continually done a remarkable job in covering sports like Kabaddi, Hockey, MMA, Badminton, and Golf. Sportskeeda has forayed into vastly unknown sports as far as the Indian sports audience is concerned by not just restricting itself to Cricket and Football.
Sportskeeda is the only Indian digital media company with dedicated personnel towards golf and covering events which is a huge testament to the company embracing the challenge of entering new waters.
The Sportskeeda Golf team has dedicated resources to provide updates and news with regards to not only covering on field events but also interviews, video series and giving an inside scoop of tour life on the PGTI to all aspiring golfers in India.
Sportskeeda is the new digital face of Indian golf and through its already wide existent fan-base it will spread Golf to all small cities of the country for the mutual benefit of growing the game and PGTI’s enhancement. Through this activity, it is hopeful of enticing more sponsors to invest in development of the tour and Sportskeeda’s golf initiatives.
PGTI Board Members
Mr. Gautam Thapar, President
Gautam Thapar is Chairman & CEO of one of India's leading business conglomerates, the US$ 4 bn Avantha Group. With an impressive global footprint, the Group operates in over ten countries, employing 20,000 people belonging to 20 different nationalities.
The Group has business interests in diverse areas, including pulp and paper, power transmission and distribution equipment and services, food processing, farm forestry, chemicals, energy, infrastructure, information technology (IT) and IT-enabled services.
An avid golfer playing to a single figure handicap, Gautam Thapar takes personal interest in promoting professional golf in India. His path-breaking initiative, the BILT Skins Golf, 2003, helped popularize golf and paved the way for similar events in the country.
Today, the Avantha Group hosts two major tournaments on the PGTI, the BILT Open and CG Open. His active interest in golf has helped the game attract corporate sponsorships in India. His visionary approach, combined with his remarkable knack for spotting and nurturing talent, has taken professional golf to new heights in the country.
Mr. Srinivasan H.R.
Srinivasan H.R., fondly known as Sri, is the Vice Chairman & Managing Director of TAKE Solutions and a member of its Board of Directors. He brings 29 years of experience in Supply Chain and General Management.
Sri started his career as a Civil Servant in the Government of India. Subsequent to that, he successfully held several leadership roles including Executive Director of the Shriram Group, Managing Director of Sembcorp Logistics, Singapore and Managing Director of Temasek Capital, Singapore among others.
He has served on both the State and Regional Councils of the Confederation of Indian Industry. He has also served as the President of TiE (The Indus Entrepreneurs), Chennai Chapter. In 2008, Sri was conferred with the CII Connect – “Entrepreneur of the Year” and the CII Tamil Nadu “Emerging Entrepreneur” award in association with The Hindu Business Line in 2010. He is a member of the YPO (Young Presidents Organization).
Sri is also a passionate golfer and golf evangelist, who firmly believes that the development of the game requires corporate support. TAKE Solutions is dedicated to the long term development of Indian golf and has several corporate and professional golf events in its forte.
Mr. Digvijay Singh
Digvijay Singh has been an Asian Tour regular and one of the top performers on the Indian domestic circuit since turning professional in 1999. He achieved his breakthrough win on the Asian Tour at the Panasonic Open India 2012. Digvijay also has 12 titles to his credit on the domestic circuit in India. He won the All India Matchplay Championship in the 2003-04 season.
Digvijay’s only win on the PGTI came at the PGTI Players Championship at Coimbatore in 2008. Some of his other top results on the Asian Tour have been a tied fourth finish at the Emaar-MGF Indian Masters 2008 and third place at the Indian Open 2002.
During his amateur days, Digvijay represented India in the Eisenhower Trophy, Nomura Cup and the 1998 Asian Games in Bangkok. He also won the Sri Lankan Amateur Championship in 1996 and 1997. Digvijay is an adventure sports enthusiast. He enjoys sky-diving, biking and target shooting.
Mr. Amardip Sinh Malik
Amardip Sinh Malik, who turned professional in 2005, achieved his breakthrough win at the PGTI Noida Masters in 2014. The professional, who originally hails from Meerut and now resides in Greater Noida, has had a number of top performances in recent years including runner-up finishes at the ONGC Masters 2008, BILT Open 2010, PGTI Players Championship at Pune in 2012, the PGTI Players Championship at Panchkula in 2013 and the TAKE Solutions Classic 2016.
Mr. Manav Jaini
Manav Jaini, who turned professional in 2006, has won two titles on the PGTI including the All India Matchplay Championship 2011 and the Jaypee Greens Open 2013. He has posted three top-5s on the Asian Tour so far including a joint runner-up finish at the Panasonic Open India 2011 and a tied third place at the Indian Open 2010.
The Delhi-based golfer had won the 2001 Northern India Championship as an amateur.
Mr. Gurki Shergill
Gurki Shergill, who turned professional in 2001, is one of the top golfers to have emerged from the state of Maharashtra. He recorded his maiden professional victory at the 8th TATA Open in 2009. He thus became the first-ever golfer from Pune to win a professional title.
Gurki has represented India in the Teen’s Capri Trophy (Juniors) in France and at the Hong Kong Amateur. He captained West Zone for four years in the All India Inter-Zonals and led the Maharashtra team at the 1997 National Games held in Bengaluru.
Mr. Angad Cheema
Angad Cheema made a mark in his rookie season on the PGTI in 2013 as he finished third in the Rolex Ranking after posting a win at the Dialog Enterprise International in Sri Lanka and a runner-up finish at the BILT Open. He also won the PGTI Feeder Tour event at Jaipur in 2013. Angad was ranked No. 2 on the Indian amateur circuit in 2012.
He won a total of five titles at the amateur level and represented India at the Eisenhower Trophy and Nomura Cup. Angad played his rookie season on the Asian Tour in 2015 after earning his card through the qualifying school.
Mr. Rudresh Sharma
Rudresh Sharma has been a regular on the PGTI since turning professional in 2009. He was runner-up at the PGTI Feeder Tour event played at Golden Greens in 2010. He also posted a top-5 at the IndianOil XtraPremium Masters 2012.