| Malkeet Kaur | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 15 Jan 2016 | Asia Samachar |
“I like listening to paath in the mornings, it calms me and is one of the best things to start the day with,” said prolific Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh.
The two-time Asian Tour number one is back in Malaysia to captain Team Asia in the second edition of the EurAsia Cup.
“The upbringing I had from my parents as a Sikh is fantastic. I am proud to be a Sikh,” he mulls when talking to a golfing editor, who happens to be a fellow-Sikh, on behalf of the Asia Samachar.
Paath is the reading of Sikh scriptures from the Guru Granth Sahib.
Perhaps like every other proud son, he speaks glowingly of his parents, whom themselves are no ordinary couple in Punjab.
His parents, father Milkha Singh, is the former renowned Indian track and field sprinter famously known as the ‘Flying Sikh’ whose sensation was relived with the release of the movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag in 2013. His mother, Nirmal Kaur, was a former captain of the Indian volleyball team.
“I am a very lucky to be born in a house like that. I am proud of what my father has done. I have always been given the right guidance, right values, right work ethic to get to the next level and I think if I can do the same for my son, Jai Milkha Singh, I think I am successfully in my life,” said Jeev.
Jeev also talked about the success of the movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag, a biographical movie based on his father’s life.
“Dad is just so busy these days because of the movie’s success. Its sends a good message to the youth. After watching it, I knew it would win awards. Dad is just thankful and happy for its success. Because of that, he gets mobbed every time he leaves the house,” he says.
Talk to anyone about Milkha Singh and his family, journalists or golfers, and a look of reverence usually emerges on their countenances. They often relate how well liked the family is. Their warm hospitality is also well known amongst the residents of Chandigarh, Punjab, where the family lives.
In fact, my husband and I were recipients of that warmth during our visit to their home some years back. It was a certainly an interesting experience to meet Jeev’s parents, especially his father who regaled us with his life story, a journey that, years later, we saw played out on the big screen. Milkha Singh may be a man of small stature but he has a larger-than-life presence and a huge personality that is well reflected in his son Jeev.
“The beauty about our religion is that we are taught to be good human beings. It’s a very big thing in our religion to give and do charity. And I think that one of the best ways’ is to do charity in a Gurdwara where the langgar is given to whomever comes to our place of worship. It’s a good gesture and a good way to give back to society,” said Jeev, who interestingly is the only Sikh golfer in the world who continues to use ‘Singh’ at the end of his name and not a family name as many have chosen to do.
For now, Jeev is busy making sure this team for ready for action at EurAsia. The action began today (15 Jan 2016) with six fourball matches, followed by the foursomes on Saturday and concluding with Sunday’s 12 singles matches.
He will go up against a Darren Clarke-led Team Europe at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club and is confident his team will put up a performance that underlines Asia’s rising stature in world golf.
It was Jeev’s status as a global player that led to his appointment as captain of Team Asia. “It’s a honor to captain Team Asia,” he said. Members of Team Asia are full of praises for their captain, saying he is talented, kind, attentive to their needs and very encouraging.
The 45-year-old golfer’s illustrious career has seen him play on four international tours including the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Tour and the PGA Tour, the only golfer in India to have done so. Currently, he is concentrating on playing events on the Asian and European Tours.
He had four wins on the European Tour, his latest one, the 2012 Scottish Open. His best ever golf season was in 2006 when he won the season-ending Volvo Masters on the European Tour, then finished at the top of the Asian Tour Order of Merit and had back-to-back wins on the Japan Tour, all of which elevated his Official World Golf Ranking to top -50, the first Indian to accomplish this feat, qualifying him for the golf Major, the 2007 U.S. Masters.
In 2008, Jeev achieved the highest ranking for an Indian in any major event at the 2008 PGA Championship in Oakland Hills, finishing at joint ninth, making him arguably India’s best golfer ever.
“I just basically have to make sure the team is comfortable, happy, and relaxed. When all of these things are given to him, that’s when, a player plays his best. And I don’t even have to tell them to try their best, because I know they are all going to give 100 per cent,” said Jeev.
This is indeed reminiscent of what his father said to us years ago at their family home in Chandigarh. When you do something in life, give it your 100 per cent!
Malkeet Kaur is the editor of Golf Magazine (Malaysia Edition). In this photo, she is with Jeev Milkha Singh at the EurAsia Cup 2016.
Golfer Jeev Milkha briefs Malaysian PM on EurAsia Cup (Asia Samachar, 28 Sept 2015)
Golfer Jeev Milka to captain Asia at EurAsia Cup (Asia Samachar, 28 Sept 2015)