“I thought I would never play golf again”, said arguably the best ever Indian Golfer, Jeev Milkha Singh, to NDTV in an exclusive chat from Narita, Japan. He said that he didn’t think he would play the sport again after losing both his parents — Milkha Singh and Nirmal Saini — in a short span due to COVID-19 last year. Jeev also believes that this is India’s golden time in Golf and the current lot can do wonders for India.

Question: You have become the first Indian player to qualify for the seniors Majors…What does it mean for Indian Golf?

Jeev Milkha Singh: I think, golf is the only game which gives you a second chance at the age of 50. If you play regular golf for a longer period and win some good tournaments, then you can get a chance to play at the senior Major tournament.  I feel, I am lucky who has got this chance to play again. I would try my best to win some titles again for my country and for my parents.

Question: With Aditi Ashok, Aniraban Lahiri and players like you, golf seems to be hitting headlines in the recent years more often than ever before? Do you think this is the best era for Indian golf?

Jeev Milkha Singh: Of course, you are correct. I would say that this is the golden time for Indian golf. Our youth has immense potential and talent. Specially players like Aditi Ashok and Anirban Lahiri can win title at any level.

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Question: So far, India have won only 3 Gold and 3 Silver in golf in the past Asian Games? What do you expect from Indian folfers in the coming Asiad (Hangzhou, China 10 Sept- 25 Sept, 2022)?

Jeev Milkha Singh: This time there is a change in the Asian games’ rules. This time around two professionals and two amateur players have been allowed to play in the team. In this scenario, India stands a very good chance to perform at the top level. Asian golfers are very good. So, there would be tough competition. But I think that India can win Gold in the Asian games through golf this time.

Question: Aditi and players like Anirban openly say that they have performed despite the system? Do you think that there is a kind of communication gap between Golf and the so-called system of sports or the sports ministry?

Jeev Milkha Singh: It’s true. There is certainly a kind of communication gap. I think, India has huge potential in this game. The government should make more driving ranges and some golf courses so that the common people can play this game. With over 1 billion population in this country who knows how many champions we can produce.

Question: You are making a comeback after your parents’ death? Had Milkha Singh sir been alive he would have felt proud for you.

Jeev Milkha Singh: Yes, after the death of both my parents within a gap of five days, due to Covid, I thought I would never play this game ever again. But after six months’ time and this opportunity to play at the senior Major I thought I should not play it for myself. I have decided to play for my parents and for my country. I want to make my country and my parents feel proud again.

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