He stuck to grills the night before tee-off. Just a hamburger and a kebab platter from Bukhara at the Sheraton in the national capital. This layered him up to take on the cold morning at a narrow and challenging Lodhi Course at the Delhi Golf Club. But even before he got to the first tee box, Tiger waded through nearly six thousand people, giving him a good flavour of the crowds signalling how strong a golf market India potentially can be. Mothers, grand mothers, little kids on shoulders all walked just to catch a glimpse of him along with players, corporate honchos and government officials.
Wearing just a blue shirt, Tiger’s shots darted straight, to roars from the crowds. Given how few shots got him to the green, one person quipped Tiger’s walking while others are golfing.
Delhi Golf Course isn’t easy to navigate with woods on sides, peacocks and bluebulls to distract and Mughal era tombs around the bends. Watching a golf great on their home course, negotiating the complex curves of the fairways was a moment for the archives. But what happened next promised to spell history. In a skins match against the world No. 1, India’s golf stars, the young Anirban Lahiri and Shiv Kapur used knowledge of the course to beat Tiger and his teammate Pawan Munjal, MD of the Hero Moto. Probably the only time Indians will make headlines for taming a Tiger.
It truly takes a great talent to top world rankings, face personal crises in sex scandals and slip in the game and then make a comeback that puts him back up there.
It’s never easy being Tiger, especially when everyone around you is trying to please you. Dinner before take off was rich, Awadhi cuisine along with biryanis crafted from the Dum Pukht menu. Perhaps in keeping with his company as he met the Delhi glitterati. As he heads to Sochi to join his girlfriend Lindsey Vonn for the Olympics, he takes with him souvenirs, some spice, friendship of some rich industrialists and a pocket money of 15 crore rupees.