Tiger Woods, the only athlete bigger than sport: Jeev Milkha Singh

CHANDIGARH: Tiger Woods is the only athlete in the world to become bigger than his sport, Indian golf veteran Jeev Milkha Singh said Tuesday, in addition to the American superstar, who once described it as "a good guy and a good friend ".

Jeev, whose career has been hit hard because of several injuries, congratulated the American for winning his 80th PGA Tour title last month, a first in five years.

The victory allowed this famous 42-year-old to win a remarkable triumph over career-threatening injuries, which has also suffered many setbacks in recent years.

"I think he's still three or four years in which he's going to win a few tournaments," said Jeev, 47.

"For me, personally, Tiger is the only athlete in the world to be bigger than the sport … there have been legends of basketball, athletics, but I think what Tiger did for golf, it is bigger than the sport.

"The awareness that he brought to golf, I think nobody could have done," Jeev added.

In 2006, while Jeev was in top form, Woods enthusiastically praised the Indian for winning two consecutive titles in Japan. The American added that he liked following Jeev's progress and had called him a "good friend".

Jeev was recently honored by the Professional Golf Professional Tour in India (PGTI), which succeeded him as tournament, the Open Open Championship.

The Chandigarh part of the PGTI national tour will be called Invitational Jeev Milkha Singh, presented by Take Solutions.

The tournament will take place from November 1st to 4th at the Chandigarh Golf Club, Jeev's home club, and will offer an improved Rs. 1.5 crore prize purse. This represents an increase of Rs 50 lakh over last year's award, when Shubhankar Sharma won.

Commenting on the upcoming tournament, Jeev said: "I'm sure it will be a great success, players like to come here to play, they appreciate the hospitality that prevails there."

Jeev said that he was considering giving full justice to the tournament as a host, but that would not prevent him from attempting to win the title.

When asked if he would put pressure on him during his home run, he replied jokingly: "As a presenter, the pressure on me is going to be that players are well supported ".

Gill, president of the Chandigarh Golf Club, said the tournament would change the game for golf in India.

"What is happening in Chandigarh today, is that there is a huge dynamic change and that players want to come into the city to play," Gill said.

The biggest names in this competition will be Jeev, SSP Chawrasia, Shiv Kapur, Jyoti Randhawa, Mohd. Siddikur Rahman (Bangladesh), Madappa Viraj, Khalin Joshi, Chikkarangappa and Chiragh Kumar.

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