Golf Steps Upto the Plate in India with Covid-19 Relief Fund-Raiser

Delhi, India: Golfers have taken the lead in announcing the first sporting event in India since the country was placed under Covid-19 lockdown in late March.

Top Indian professional golfers Shubhankar Sharma and Gaganjeet Bhullar will join former Indian cricketers Kapil Dev and Murali Kartik for an exhibition match to raise funds for Covid Relief at Delhi Golf Club on July 11.

The match is inspired by last month’s US exhibition featuring Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods, and NFL superstars Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

The event has attracted wide media attention since cricket is like a religion in India and Kapil, the man who captained India to its first World Cup win in 1983, enjoys a cult following and is one of the most recognised faces across the sub-continent.

Pitting Bhullar and Kapil against 2018 Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Sharma and Kartik, the event will raise funds for the internationally acclaimed charity Magic Bus and is named ‘Champions For A Cause’.

It will be played over 18 holes at the iconic Delhi Golf Club, newly redesigned by Gary Player Design, where more than 20 editions of the Indian Open and numerous other Asian Tour events have been staged.

On a daily basis, Magic Bus is feeding 57,000 families suffering due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For the past 20 years, Magic Bus has been using sport to enhance education in 375,000 slum kids annually.

Cricket legend Kapil, who plays off a two handicap, said: “When the country is facing such challenges, it is our duty to do whatever little we can to help. It is a great initiative and as a sportsman it gives me the added thrill of competing with the best pro players in the country.”

The event will follow Indian Government guidelines prevailing at the time in terms of spectators and aims to raise at least US$150,000 in donations to support the Covid-19 relief efforts of Magic Bus.

“It is wonderful that cricket and golf are getting together for this noble cause. Both the sports have over decades relied heavily on building communities around their sport in their own ways. If ever there was a need to rebuild communities, it is now and I just feel blessed to be able to contribute,” said nine-time Asian Tour winner Bhullar, whose last victory came in the 2018 Fiji Open co- sanctioned with the European Tour.

Well known Indian golf administrator Dilip Thomas is the lead donor for this fund-raiser event. Thomas has been an active member of The R&A since 1999 and has served in various capacities on Indian and international golf bodies, including the International Golf Federation’s Rio Olympics Committee, making him one of the most influential figures in Indian golf over the past four decades.

The event is being managed and marketed by Rishi Narain Sports Marketing, a prominent sports marketing firm.

Rishi Narain, the organiser and Editor-in-Chief of Golf Digest India, has been organising the India Golf Expo for the past six years on behalf of the Indian Golf Industry Association and was part of India’s gold medal-winning team at the 1982 Asian Games.

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