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Play golf until the solar shines: How Jeev Milkha remembers mentor Doug Sanders

Douglas (Doug) Sanders is gone however the methods during which the 20-time PGA Tour winner touched the lives of aspiring golfers throughout the globe stays. In our a part of the world, a recipient of Sanders’ generosity is Jeev Milkha Singh, and when information of the 86-year-old’s pure demise trickled in late on April 12, Singh was wistful. “The Sanders (Doug and wife Scotty) were instrumental in getting me where I am,” mentioned Singh, who has the excellence of being the highest-ranked Indian ever on this planet at No 28 in 2009 and received 9 occasions throughout three world excursions between 2008 and 2012.

The affiliation dates again to 1987 when Singh, then 16, received the Doug Sanders Asian Division in Australia, a qualifier for the ultimate in Aberdeen, Scotland. The runner-up end gave the strapping golfer an opportunity to work together with Sanders, who was enjoying the senior tour within the US however had misplaced not one of the imposing persona. Overcoming the preliminary apprehension, Singh shared his dream of turning skilled and if Sanders may assist with a golf scholarship in an American school.

Doug Sanders’ letter to Jeev inviting him to hitch highschool in Houston
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Things stayed that manner until Sanders acquired again with a suggestion subsequent yr that Singh accepted solely to remorse. Adjusting to highschool in Houston was robust. “I was used to a different life in Chandigarh which revolved around golf and I got homesick within a month and came back despite Doug’s efforts to persuade me,” mentioned Singh.

A telephone name from Sanders in 1991 gave Singh one other likelihood to chase his dream. The Abilene Christian University close to Dallas, Texas, was wanting so as to add a world golfer to the faculty crew and Sanders really useful Singh to the crew coach.

“Being government officials, my parents (Milkha and Nirmal) could not afford the college fees despite a 50 per cent waiver,” mentioned Singh. The Sanders stepped in and paid the remaining $30,000 for the two-year affiliate’s diploma in enterprise and administration.

Singh made the a lot of the likelihood and received the Conference in 1992 (an inter-collegiate match in Texas) and the NCAA (all American) Division 2 the following yr. Felicitated for ending among the many top-five novice golfers within the US, Singh was included within the school corridor of fame. The apply of writing “I was born to win” 10 occasions earlier than bedtime, which he learnt throughout life studying abilities courses in school, had borne fruit.

Grab of Jeev in the Abilene Christian University Hall of Fame

Grab of Jeev within the Abilene Christian University Hall of Fame
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With little else to show, Singh turned professional in May 1993 in session with Sanders. “While encouraging me, Doug told me there were no shortcuts to success,” mentioned Singh.

The try and qualify for the PGA Tour didn’t repay, however Singh stood wiser from the time spent with the Sanders at their sprawling home in Houston. Doug gave an perception into his quite a few wins on tour and the runner-up finishes at Majors, Scotty took care of the emotional facet. “She was like a mother figure, always there for me knowing I was far away from home. At that age, you need that moral support to stay away from bad habits and company,” mentioned Singh.

Before he left for India to concentrate on the Asian Tour, Scotty, a religious Christian, gifted a Bible with ‘Chiranjeev Milkha Singh’ embossed on the leather-based cowl. It was on the suggestion of his mentors that Chiranjeev was shortened to Jeev for simpler pronunciation in that a part of the world. The identify caught on and Jeev went on to turn into a revered identify throughout the Asian, European and Japan excursions.

For many seasons, the Bible was part of Singh’s knapsack and he used to learn passages throughout match weeks for constructive vitality. Despite being on the transfer as his profession soared, Singh made it a degree to remain in contact with the household and even hosted Scotty numerous occasions at his Chandigarh dwelling.

Sanders’ demise has brought about anguish however he lives on within the 48-year-old Singh’s work ethic. “Before I turned pro, Doug told me ‘never waste any sunlight’ (to keep practicing till the sun is up) and that’s the way it is till date.”

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