Saturday, January 19, 2013

Five Major winners Clarke, Cabrera, Campbell, Micheel and Beem to tee-off in an innovative
franchisee-based Pearls Golf Premier League

·        Teams to play for $ 400,000 in prize money
·        Major champions, global stars to compete with top Asian and Indians in a new team concept
·        Pearls GPL to be held at world-class Aamby Valley City Golf course

New Delhi, January 18: A totally new and unique city and franchised based Golf League will see a bunch of Major champions and a host of top European, Asian and Indian stars come together for the inaugural edition of the Pearls Golf Premier League (PGPL), a pioneering concept in golf.
No less than five Majors Champions will for the first time compete on Indian soil. Never before have so many Major winners come for a single event in India. The five champions, who between them have won six Majors, besides a host of European and Asian Tour titles, will tee off alongside Gen Next stars of Asia and the PGTI in a concept that brings together players from various international Tours across the world.
The event will be played on a stroke-play-cum-best-ball format over three days.

The Pearls Golf Premier League is a brainchild of India’s leading pro golfer Shiv Kapur, a regular on European and Asian Tours, and Neeraj Sareen, a former top-flight amateur golfer.
The Pearls Golf Premier League will be held under the banner of Sportsmantra with players having been released by the Asian and the PGTI Tours.



The Major champions, who have confirmed for the event are Angel Cabrera (US Open in 2007 and Masters in 2009), Darren Clarke (2011 British Open winner), Michael Campbell (US Open in 2005), Shaun Micheel (PGA Championships in 2003) and Rich Beem (PGA Championships in 2002).
Also confirming their participation are Simon Dyson, a former Asian tour Order of Merit winner in 2000 and multiple champion on European and Asian Tours, long-hitting Johan Edfors, a multiple winner on European Tour, and David Howell, the winner of the inaugural WGC-HSBC Champions, when he beat Tiger Woods.


The International Indians will comprise of players playing on various international Tours. They include the likes of four-time Asian tour winner, Gaganjeet Bhullar, former Volvo Masters of Asia champion, Shiv Kapur.  Also in the list of Indian Internationals, is Daniel Chopra, of Swedish-Indian parentage. A two-time PGA Tour winner, Chopra played golf in India in his formative years. The field also includes Anirban Lahiri and Himmat Rai, also an Asian Tour winner in 2011. The International Indians line-up also includes Chiragh Kumar, the 2011 Order of Merit winner on Indian PGTI Tour.


Thaworn Wiratchant, the 2012 winner of the Asian Tour Order of Merit and holder of the record for most Asian Tour titles, and Chapchai Nirat, who holds the world record for the lowest four-round total of 32-under recorded in India a few years ago, will lead the starcast from the Asian Tour. The top eight available stars from the Order of Merit, as at the end of the 2012 season, will be eligible. Also confirming their participation are Australian Scott Hend, winner of the ‘Long Drive’ statistic on PGA Tour in 2005, and two-time Asian Tour winner, Jason Knutzon.
Multiple winner on European Tour, Jarmo Sandelin, who has also played on Ryder Cup team, and now playing in Asia, will also feature in the event.

The top PGTI professionals, who have been confirmed include Shamim Khan and Rashid Khan, the No. 1 and 2, from the PGTI Order of Merit for 2012, besides three-time Asian Tour winner, the seasoned Gaurav Ghei. Former PGTI Tour Order of Merit winner, Ashok Kumar, and multiple winner on PGTI Tour, Sri Lanka’s Mithun Perera, have also confirmed their participation.

Interestingly, the field includes the last three PGTI Order of Merit winners – Ashok Kumar (2010), Chiragh Kumar (2011) and Shamim Khan (2012).


·         The event will be held at the world-class Aamby Valley Golf Course in Aamby Valley City in Maharashtra with a purse of $4,00,000 USD from the 7th -10th of February 2013. The Aamby Valley Golf Course, which nestles in the Sahyadri Hills is easily reachable from Mumbai by road. It is 25 km south-west of Lonavala, near Pune. A designer course, it has played host to various international and Indian pro events, besides corporate events.
·         Part of the Aamby Valley City, it has state-of-the-art Golf Academy and other sporting facilities.
·         The Course is just under 7,100 under from black tees and plays to par of 72


·         The winning team will walk away with a quarter of a million USD (about Rs. 1.35 crores)
·         There will also be $ 25,000 available in a Charity Skills Challenge


·         The event, which will become an annual affair, will feature eight franchises with teams of four golfers each.
·         Each team will comprise four players, one each drawn from a pool of Internationals, Indian Internationals (Indians playing on various Internationals Tours), Asian Tour (top eight available players from 2012 Order of Merit) and PGTI Tour (top eight available players from the 2012 Order of Merit).
·         There will be an auction for the Internationals and the Indian Internationals later this month.
·         There will be a cap on how high the bids can go.
·         Part of the proceeds will go for a Charity


One of the eight franchise owners/ principals is the former Sri Lankan captain, Mahela Jayawardene, a very keen golfer, who will head the Colombo Sixers. The principals for the franchisees, which have taken ownership of the teams are:
  1. The Delhi Darts                                (Mr. Madhav Dhar)
  2. The Gujarat Underdawgs            (Mr. Munish Patell)
  3. The Colombo Sixers                       (Mr. Mahela Jayawardene)
  4. The  Shubhkamna Eagles            (Mr. Piyush Tiwari)
  5. The Tamilnadu Pullees                  (Mr. Dilip Thomas)
  6. The Witalsee Punjab Lancers      (Mr. Jyoti Naryan)
  7. The Maharashtra 59ers                 (Ms Sumedha Sharma)
  8. The Karnakata Warriors


·         The GPL beginning February 7, 2013 will have three rounds with two day-night rounds of stroke play and the final round being on the best-ball format. The team scores will be calculated on cumulative scores of all four professionals over three rounds each.
·         This is the first time day-night competition has been adopted in professional golf in Asia.
·         The event will be telecast live for all three days.
·         The main event to be held from February 8-10 will be preceded by Pro-Am competition and a Skills Challenge, featuring Celebrities and professionals, on February 7.
·         Each round will be played over 14 holes, taking a leaf from the T20 cricket.


“It is the most unique concept in golf that I have seen in almost two decades as a professional. Playing alongside some of the top names and top Asian and Indian players will bring in a new excitement. I have been to India and I know the game is growing fast. I am looking forward to the Golf Premier League,” said Michael Campbell, the 2005 US Open winner.

“The Golf Premier League (GPL) is the first of its kind golf property, which seeks to create an innovative competition through a franchise-based model. This format will allow for a unique partnership between golf players and team owners. The presence of Golf Legends, European and Asian superstars, all of whom have played and won at a very high level, will play alongside top Indian talent. This will not only promote the game but also raise awareness about golf, something that will bring added spectator interest,” said Shiv Kapur, Co-Founder, the Golf Premier League.

Neeraj Sareen, the co-founder of the GPL, added, “Through the GPL we are seeking to create value for franchise owners and sponsors and at the same time we wish to bring world-class golfers in a friendly and yet competitive atmosphere. This will also help sponsors realize the value in golf, which has grown in great measure in India.”

Mr. Vivek Kumar, CEO Aamby Valley City and Hotel Sahara Star,” We are extremely pleased to be associated with the prestigious Golf Premier League. At Aamby Valley City we have always aimed to provide golf enthusiasts with a memorable golfing experience and the event is sure to be an exciting occasion for all golfers. Voted as the Best International Golf Course at the International Property Awards, the golf course at Aamby Valley City is designed to match international luxury standards which are ideal for championships of this stature.”

"It gives us immense pleasure and a great sense of satisfaction to announce our association with GPL 2013 in  India. It will not only present a chance for Indian audience to see world-class talent in action but will also give India’s young players an opportunity to showcase their talent and get noticed. Golf is gaining immense popularity in India & we have immense talent in this sport.  Some of the best sportsmen have come from the most unassuming of places, and it is our endeavor to give this talent a platform with robust grassroots initiatives like the ‘Pearl’s Golf Premier League 2013’. We are excited about the launch of this tournament in India and look forward to engaging the talented young golfer around the country through this program & generate further interest towards Golf as a sport". Mr K.K.Bakshi CEO Pacl ltd.

Shaju Ignatius, Managing Director, Ignite Infotainment Pvt. Ltd. and a Core Team Member of the first ever Golf Premier League said “From my past association with Aamby Valley City, and the experience of having done a series of events there for over a decade, the logistics management and operations of the Venue are homegrown. Along with the Aamby Valley team and management, the Endeavour would be to provide a world class experience during the League”.

Commenting on the GPL, Padamjit Sandhu, Director PGTI said, "This high profile international professional golf championship in India will further enhance the already growing stature of the sport in the region. We wish the promoters, the sponsors and the franchise owners the very best and look forward to an exciting week of golf with international marquee players at the GPL."

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