Feb
3
2014
Tiger Woods in India! (*Update)
By Stephanie Wei under Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods arrives in India
On Monday, Tiger Woods arrived in New Delhi for his first trip to India, where he’ll play in a round with private guests in an organized exhibition by a motorcycle company.

Woods will play alongside Hero Motors boss Pawan Munjal and his guests, which include two renowned Indian golfers, Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri, in a four-ball, along with a skins game for a few holes.

When asked at the Dubai Desert Classic for his expectations of the trip, Woods replied: “I don’t know. I have never been. This will be my first time so it will be fun. Then I will head back home to see my kids.”

In the past, Woods had been asked by his good friend and Indian golfer Arjun Atwal to visit the country.

“Arjun has been asking me to come to India, but somehow it never happened,” said Tiger. “Now it has. Yeah, I’m looking forward to it, finally going to go for my first time.”

On Tuesday Woods arrived to Delhi Golf Club for the special event, but reportedly eager fans were disappointed that the vast majority wouldn’t get a glimpse of the 14-time major champion in this super top-secret trip, according to India Today:

But to his fans’ dismay, Woods maiden sojourn in the country has been kept shrouded in secrecy and out of bounds for the public as well the media.

Getting the biggest star in the sport is not easy at all. According to the DNA report, Hero MotoCorp CEO and Managing Director Pawan Munjal has reportedly shelled out over $2.5 million to get a round of golf with Woods – who is known to charge anywhere above $10 million for a public appearance.

Oh, yeah, Woods is also getting paid a ton of money for this exhibition, of course.

GolfingIndian.com says Tiger is playing in a skins game, and the site contradicts reports that the event is a closed-off, private affair:

This is one match Pawan Munjal certainly wants to win, especially because he has Tiger Woods on his side. As you read this newspaper, a skins game is underway between two teams on the 16, 17th and 18th holes of the Delhi Golf Course. Pawan Munjal-Tiger Woods vs Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri. But his competition is tough and Munjal himself has played a role in making Kapur and Lahiri star golfers by getting his firm Hero Moto Corp to support the players and grow their game and aspirations. Tiger will play about 14-15 holes and do a little practice at the historic Delhi Golf Course. Over 4000 people will make for the galleries to watch Tiger nearly covering half the fairway of the narrow course.

Well, I guess, considering this is India, 4,000 fans makes it quite an intimate event.

Here’s a picture via GolfingIndian.comwhich has a live blog running — of Woods teeing off:

Woods teeing off

Woods teeing off

Meanwhile, Kapur, one of the players in Woods’ foursome, has told the media that Tiger’s visit to his native country will have a massive impact.

“Tiger’s visit to India is going to make a huge impact and there is a big buzz already not only in Delhi but the whole country. I know the members at my club (DGC) are very excited and there is going to be people climbing all over the walls just to get a glimpse of Tiger,” he had said, via IndianExpress.com.

*Update, Tuesday, 2/3, 10am ET:

Woods posts photos on Instagrams from the exhibition:

One account of Woods’ round that also claims he shot nine-under:

Dressed in a blue tee-shirt, black trousers and white cap, Tiger started off with a wonderful shot straight down the middle, which was the hallmark of the man all through the day as he played along with his host Munjal exclusively for the first nine holes and returned with a card of six-under.

In the next nine holes, Woods was accompanied by Rajiv Singh of DLF and Justice Vikramajit Sen of Supreme Court on the 10th and 11th holes, while leading Indian woman golfer Sharmila Nicollet played a couple of holes at the 12th and 13th, before media honchos Prannoy Roy and Aveek Sarkar joined the golf great at the DGC.

On the last three holes, it was a skins game between two teams — Pawan Munjal-Tiger Woods vs Shiv Kapur and Anirban Lahiri, which ended on an even keel with Kapur winning the 17th hole with a birdie and Munjal and Woods pocketing the 18th hole with both hitting birdies on the last.

Tiger was also thankful for the hospitality from his hosts in India, according to the Times of India:

“Thanks so much for the time, it was an absolute blast. It is hard to say how much fun I had today. It was a narrow golf course and I was nervous with my tee shot. My best buddy Arjun (Atwal) told me so much about India and I am happy to be here. Thank You so much,” said Woods, who donated some portion of the money he earned from the event to charity organisation.