Professional Golf Tour of India
The PGTI serves as a feeder tour for higher level tours such as the Asian Tour. Many Indian players have become members of the Asian Tour, while a small number have joined the world's leading two tours, the European Tour and the United States-based PGA Tour.
The PGTI became a member of the International Federation of PGA Tours in 2009, but its events do not carry World Ranking Points, except for the Indian Open and the SAIL Open, which are co-sanctioned by the Asian Tour, and the Avantha Masters, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour.
India's Royal Calcutta Golf Club was founded in 1829 and is usually regarded as the oldest outside the United Kingdom. In the early years Indian golf with dominated by British players and it was not until 1949 that Mohinder Bal became the first Indian to win the All-India Amateur Championship. The Indian Golf Union (IGU) was founded in 1955 to take over responsibility for Indian Golf, which had previously been largely in the hands of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club. The sport was still dominated by amateurs at that point, but most of them were now Indian.
In 1957 the IGU started a training program for caddies and professionals. In 1964 the Indian Open (open that is to both amateurs and professionals), was established and it soon replaced the All-India Amateur as the leading golf tournament in the country. Australian and five time British Open champion Peter Thomson used to stop over in India on his way from Australia to Europe, and he won the Indian Open in 1964, 1966 and 1976. Major Billoo Sethi, an amateur, was the first Indian to win this tournament in 1965. In 1970 the Indian Open became part of the Asian Golf Circuit, the predecessor of the Asian Tour. In 1991 Ali Sher a professional golfer won the Indian Open, which made professional golf a much more attractive career option in India.
The Professional Golfers Association of India was founded in 1988, and several additional professional events were founded in India in the 1990s. From 1997 to 2006, the Indian Golf Tour was managed by Tiger Sports Marketing on behalf of the PGA of India. Total prize money for the 2004/05 season was 30,500,000 Indian rupees ($698,260 at 31 December 2004 exchange rate). There were around 20 events in the season, including tournaments in Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
In October 2006 a group of leading Indian golfers including Jyoti Randhawa and Gaurav Ghei announced that they were setting up a new tour. This followed a dispute between the Professional Golfers Association of India and Tiger Sports Marketing, the organisers of the Indian Golf Tour. The BBC reported that it was not clear whether this tour would simply take the place of the existing tour, or whether rival tours might develop. In the event, the new tour, the Professional Golf Tour of India, took over as India's sole domestic professional tour, though Tiger Sports Marketing remained involved in other aspects of Indian golf.
The PGTI's schedule expanded rapidly in its first few seasons. In 2010 there were twenty-five events on the main schedule, including two co-sanctioend with the Asian Tour and one co-sanctioned with the European Tour, plus seven events on the Feeder Tour, which debuted that year. In 2011 the tour will co-sanction an event with the European Tour's developmental circuit, the Challenge Tour, for the first time.
In the ongoing power struggle between the Asian Tour and OneAsia for control of men's professional tournament golf in Asia, the PGTI has so far leant towards the former. The PGTI's president, Gautam Thapar, became a member of the Asian Tour's board in 2009, and as of 2011 India has not hosted any OneAsia events.
Order of Merit winners
Professional Golf Tour of India
PGA of India Tour
|Amby Valley PGAI Tour|
|Hero Honda Golf Tour|
|Wills Sport Golf Tour|
|Indian PGA Golf Tour|
- "New golf tour unveiled in India". BBC Sport. October 20, 2006. Retrieved 2009-02-02.
- "Mukesh Kumar". tigersportsmarketing.com. Retrieved 2009-02-01.[dead link]
- "Ashok Kumar". tigersportsmarketing.com. Retrieved 2009-02-01.[dead link]
- "Vijay Kumar". tigersportsmarketing.com. Retrieved 2009-02-02.[dead link]