European tour golf event runs into stalemate

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New Delhi, Sep 17 (UNI) Touted as country's richest prize money Golf tournament-- the maiden European Tour event-- the 2.5 million dollar Indian Masters, has run into a three-partite stalemate even before its tee off.

The bone of contention being the non participation of Asian tour and Professional Golf Tournament of India (PGTI) besides the slots on offer for Indian and Asian players.

Addressing the media persons to announce the event, to be known as Emaar-MGF Indian Masters, Chief Executive of the European Tour George O'Grady admitted that he was surprised to see that Asian Tour and the PGTI were not on board.

''I hope they will come on the platform because negotiations are on with both the parties.

''It's a shame that we could not have them here. You need a balance in the field and if we further drop the number of European Tour players in the tournament, we can't guarantee you international television coverage. we are continuing negotiation and we want both the parties on our side,'' O'Grady told reporters here today.

Keith Waters, European Tour Director of International Policy revealed out of a 126-player field, 46 slots have been offered to Asian Tour, apart from places for two Indian amateurs and eight sponsor's invites.

''The tournament being scheduled from February 7 to 10, the field is slightly small. We have developed certain complications but we are trying to settle it in a way that all three parties are happy,'' Waters said.

O'Grady also confirmed that Jeev Milkha Singh, Shiv Kapur and Jyoti Randhawa who are with PGTI, will be taking part in the event.

''During Johnny Walkers at Gleneagles, we talked with Jeev Milkha Singh and he is keen that India hosts the event. Prior to that we discussed it with Shiv Kapur also,'' he said.

Though O'Grady said it was too early to name the top draws, Mohamed Juma Buamain, Vice Chairman of 'golf in Dubai', the promoter, confirmed that Ernie Else, Henrik Stetson, Colin Montgomerie, Lee Westwood, Thomas Bjorn and Jeev would tee off.

All these players are 'golf in Dubai' Brand Ambassadors.

O'Grady also made it clear that the Euorpean tour is being held on the invitation of the Indian Golf Union (IGU). ''We don't go anywhere unless invited, We are not here on our own,'' he said.

He further added ''We are not pushing our way through, it is not our way of functioning.'' UNI

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