Arjun Atwal returns to Wyndham Championship, where he created history a decade back
Greensboro: The legendary Indian golfer, Arjun Atwal, will mark his return to the PGA Tour’s Wyndham Championship this week, where he created history exactly a decade back. It was at the 2010 Wyndham Championship staged at the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, that one of the most glorious chapters in Indian golfing history was written when Arjun became the first Indian to capture a PGA Tour title and conquer uncharted territory.
The 47-year-old Arjun, still the only Indian to have won on the world’s most prestigious golf tour, has vivid memories of the day when he also earned the distinction of becoming the first Monday qualifier to win on the PGA Tour in 24 years.
“I remember I was really nervous in the moments leading up to the winning putt as I knew that this was my chance at making history. But once I lined up that all-important seven-footer and was ready to make the putt, I was much calmer and in control. After I sank the putt, I remember dropping my putter and raising my arms in order to celebrate,” said Atwal, who shot scores of 61, 67, 65, and 67 to total 20-under-260 for the week and beat American David Toms to the post by one stroke.
Arjun, a resident of Windermere, Florida since 2003, has nine other international wins to his credit including three on the European Tour. The 6-foot 1-inch tall Atwal who originally hails from Kolkata became the first Indian to win on the European Tour when he posted an emphatic five-stroke victory at the 2002 Caltex Singapore Masters.
However, Arjun counts his win at the 1999 Indian Open as the other most cherished moment of his professional career after the win on the PGA Tour.
Atwal said, “I won my first Asian Tour event at the 1999 Indian Open. The event also happened to be played at my home course, the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC). So, winning in front of my home crowd, family and friends made it that much more special.”
Arjun is also very optimistic about the future of Indian golf. He feels young Indian players such as Rashid Khan, Udayan Mane, Aman Raj, Khalin Joshi, and Viraj Madappa have a lot of talent and potential and are the ones to watch out for.
Atwal said, “The PGTI has been providing a great platform for young Indian talent to come up. The scores and cuts at PGTI events are much lower than previous years and that indicates that there is a lot of depth in the field and that golf is in a good place in India. The players are also a lot fitter than before. The foundation is there, it’s now up to the players to push themselves and achieve what they can.”
Speaking about the return of competitive golf in these testing times, Arjun was full of praise for the way the PGA Tour has been smoothly conducting tournaments, revealing, “The PGA Tour has laid down a requirement for multiple COVID tests to be carried out before a player takes the field at an event. They’re doing a great job considering the current situation in the US.”