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Hero Indian Open – History, Tradition and Glory

Kaushal Raj
SENIOR ANALYST
249   //    17 Mar 2016, 23:13 IST
Anirban Lahiri with the 2015 Hero Indian Open trophy

Delhi Golf Club will host the 52nd edition of the Hero Indian Open for a record 28th time. The event, pioneered by 5 times British Open Winner and 3 times Indian Open Winner Peter Thomson is scheduled from 17th – 20th March. Hero MotoCorp will support the event for the 11th year running and have been instrumental in ensuring that the Hero Indian Open remains one of the most important stops for top golfers from around the globe.

The event will once again be tri-sanctioned by the Indian Golf Union, the Asian Tour and European Tour. 2015 marked the first year of the association with the European Tour with an increased purse of $ 1.5 Million (INR 10 Crore) and crucial Race to Dubai points up for grabs early in the season. This year’s edition brings a 10 % rise in the total purse at $1.66 million (INR 11.3 Crore).  

Anirban Lahiri and three-time Major Champion Republic of Ireland’s Padraig Harrington will headline one of the strongest-ever fields to assemble at the event. Featuring alongside the marquee names, a strong field of players from Europe and Asia will once again be seen in action along with Indians Jeev Milkha Singh, SSP Chawrasia, Shiv Kapur, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rashid Khan, Rahil Gangjee, Himmat Rai and Chiragh Kumar among others. The roster of former champions includes Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, Mardan Mamat of Singapore and India’s Arjun Atwal.

Since 2000, the Delhi Golf Club has proven to be a happy hunting ground for the Indians. International tournaments including the Panasonic Open (Asian Tour), SAIL-SBI Open (Asian Tour), Emaar-MGF Indian Masters (European Tour) & the Indian Open have all taken place at the venue and Indians have emerged winners in over 60% of the 18 tournaments held here. (11 wins).  

The 2015 Hero Indian Open provided fans with a thrilling finish. Going into the final round, Anirban Lahiri was 7 strokes behind leader SSP Chawrasia. In a remarkable turn of events, the golfers couldn’t be separated after the 18th and ended with identical totals of 7 under par 277. They returned to the Par 5 18th for a playoff and Anirban held his nerves to birdie and collect the winner’s trophy and $250,000 (INR 1.7 Crore) cheque. It was heartbreak for SSP who finished runner for the fourth time at this event and is still waiting for his maiden victory in the Indian Open.

The Hero Indian Open is steeped in history and has proven a stepping stone for many Indian golfers. The best example being last year’s winner – Anirban Lahiri

Anirban Lahiri 2015 Timeline 

Winner- Maybank Malaysian Open (February)   --   Winner- Hero Indian Open (February)   – Top 50 of Official World Golf Rankings (Lowest Rank: 34, February) -- Entry to the Major Championships -- T5th at PGA Championships (Lowest ever finish by an Indian, August) -- Web.com Tour Qualifiers (September) -- Earned 2016 PGA Tour Card (October) -- Made the International Team for the Presidents Cup (1st Indian, October) -- Top of Asian Tour Order of Merit 2015 (December) -- Asian Tour Player of the Year Award 2015 (Feb 2016)

Wins in the Indian Open have propelled the careers of other Indian stalwarts as well, most notably Jyoti Randhawa (8 Time winner on the Asian Tour) and Arjun Atwal (1st Indian to win on the PGA Tour, 2010 Wyndham Championship).

The Indian Open throws up a variety of interesting statistics in terms of winners and their countries. Australian golfers (Peter Thomson, Graham Marsh, Brian Jones, Ted Ball) were dominant in the early years of the Indian Open registering wins in 8 of the first 14 editions. Golfers from USA (Bill Brask, Gaylord Burrows, Kurt Cox, Payne Stewart) won the next 4 editions between 1978-1981. Indians (Feroze Ali, Arjun Atwal, Jyoti Randhawa, Vijay Kumar, C Muniyappa, Anirban Lahiri) have been more successful in the recent editions of the Indian Open emerging victorious in 8 of the previous 17 editions. Anirban’s win in 2015 made Indian golfers the most successful at the Indian Open with 11 wins, 1 ahead of Australia’s 10 and two ahead of the USA’s 9. Golfers from 14 different countries have won the Indian Open & no African golfer has won the Indian Open.

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There has been a steady increase in prize money at the Indian Open with this year’s $1.66 Mn the highest ever, we take a look at prize money over the years & how much the winners took home.

Year

Venue

Winner

Prize Purse

Earnings (1st Place)

1991

Delhi Golf Club

Ali Sher (Indian Winner after 26 years)

$150,000

$25,000

1999

Royal Calcutta Golf Club

Arjun Atwal

$300,000

$50,000

2007

Delhi Golf Club

Jyoti Randhawa

$500,000

$79,250

2008

Delhi Golf Club

Liang Wen-Chong

$1,000,000

$158,500

2012

Karnataka Golf Association

Thaworn Wiratchant

$1,250,000

$198,125

2015

Delhi Golf Club

Anirban Lahiri

$1,500,000

$250,000

2016

Delhi Golf Club


$1,660,000

$275,000

Merely 24 years after Ali Sher won the first of his two Indian Open titles in 1991, Anirban Lahiri took home ten times the prize money that Ali Sher did, a testament to how much the Indian Open has grown over the years.

Fast Facts:

MOST NUMBER OF WINS

Jyoti Randhawa 3 (2000, 2006, 2007)

Peter Thomson 3 (1964, 1966, 1976)

FIRST INDIAN WINNER

P.G. Sethi (1965)(Only amateur winner ever)

BACK-TO-BACK WINNERS

Kenji Hosoishi – Japan (1967, 1968)

Jyoti Randhawa – India (2006, 2007)

LOWEST ROUND AT THE INDIAN OPEN

60 – Liang Wen-Chong of China – First Round at DGC in 2008 

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