Women to the fore

Updated: Nov 26 2006, 05:38am hrs
The Ladies Northern India Golf Championship was played at the Delhi Golf Course last week. Though I have personal fondness for the tournamentwhich was one of the first I played as an amateur and got to take home lots of prizes fromand is one of the toughest ladies amateur competitions considering it is played at the DGC, it was most encouraging to see the number of youngsters who have just taken up the game.

Almost 23 girls comprising the 99-member field were under the age of 12with ambition riding high and stars in their eyes. However, what these youngsters require now is lots of encouragement and good guidance. And now, with a professional tour in the offing there is no dearth of options.

Furthermore, while sponsor come and go in every sport, the dedication of Siddharth Sriram who backed this tournament for the 19 th time this year, is commendable. The atmosphere at the Northern India Ladies Amateur Golf Championship is unique. The young and old all compete as one, learning from each other as the old guard makes way for the new. Only in ladies golf do you see participants of all age groups vying for prized winnings and let me tell you that a lot of practice and hard work goes into maintaining and improving handicaps.

And, in continuation from last weekThailands Boonchu Ruangkit won the Champions Tour National Qualifying Tournament wire-to-wire and will represent the continent on the post-50 tour. Though this is the sixth time an international player has won the qualifying, it is the fourth time in five years that this has happened. Another sign of the progress in places earlier considered backward for golf.

Talking of continents, it is also worth noting that while Jeev Milkha Singh is the third highest ranked Asian in the world at 63rd place, while Jyoti is ranked a close fourth and is in 80th place. Now thats something!

And finally, legendary golfer Arnold Palmer bid goodbye to competitive golf last week, ending a 60-year career famous for record-breaking and emotional victories.