When “Paaji” Kapil Dev jokingly remarked that I’ve not felt such pressure in the World Cup, his words reflected the intensity of competition which emerged at the Inaugural DGC League powered by Vredestein Tryes and hosted by the Delhi Golf Club from the 14th Oct onwards with the Finals played on the 31st. Kapil Dev was representing Team K Devils, named after him and while he and his partner Rakesh Goel won their match against the pair Shamsher Dhupia and Navdeep Singh from team BMW Deutsche Motoren, Team BMW Deutsche Motoren emerged the overall winners of the Inaugural DGC League.
Team BMW Deutsche Motoren won four of the matches and drew one from the total of seven matches played against K Devils. In each match, two players from a team played against two players from the other team in a “Four Ball better Ball” format with each player playing off 75 % of her/his original handicap. Each win gave a team two points and winning a bye gave each team half a point. Team BMW Deutsche Motoren totalled 9 points in their 7 matches while Team K Devils totalled 6.5 points to claim the gold plated Championship Trophy.
The entire league saw some tremendous golf and spirit. And once the 8 teams had qualified for the knock out stage, from the Quarter finals onwards the matches escalated in intensity and passion with loud cheers being heard across the golf course. Several matches came down the wire and were decided on the last hole with the score of the innovative “bye” deciding the result between two teams. A “bye” came into play as soon as any pair won a match and if there were still holes left to be played. The remaining holes were then played for a new match with half a point going to the winners.
In the Semi Finals Team BMW Deutsche Motoren won against Baale Golf with half a point from the “bye” edging them through with the score reading 8 points versus 7.5 for Baale Golf. In the other semi-final match K Devils edged past Delhi Tigers (9.5 – 6).
Commenting on the excitement and joyous scenes witnessed through the event, veteran golfer KK Bajoria remarked that the last time I saw such reactions on the course were when Gaurav Ghei chipped in to win the Gadgil Western Masters in 1995.
During the Round Robin stage, noteworthy performances included Kapil Kathpalia and Jaideep Ahuja from the team SwingKKings coming back from 6 down with 7 holes to play, winning all the last 7 holes to beat the experienced pair of Randhir Brar and Poonam Beesla of team Radvin Birdie Machine. Tremendous individual performances included Bikram Singh from Team Coca Cola, playing off a revised handicap of 2, firing 7 birdies in his final game to help his team Coca Cola take pole position,
One interesting element of the tournament was the handicap reductions which came into play whenever any player had won two back to back matches. 102 players from the final starting field of 308 thus had their handicaps reduced, leading to better balanced contests.
Speaking at the Prize Distribution meeting, Captain of Delhi Golf Club Maj Gen Anil Dere (Retd) remarked that the twin objectives of the event, which were to promote talent and also build camaraderie between members, had been achieved. Chairman of the Tournament Committee and the man behind the event, Lt Gen Balbir Sandhu (Retd) outlined the vision for the future.
Marketed and managed by Mssrs Gran Canaria and Digraj Golf Inc, the event received tremendous support from sponsors: Vredestein Tyres, Shiva Motocorp – Land Rover, Krisumi, Grant Thornton, Three Sixty, Concor, Athletic Drive, Rezon, Ravissant, Johnnie Walker – The Journey, Golf Plus, Oakley, Rohit Gandhi & Rahul Khanna, Pashmkaar, The Suryaa and Nine who have supported the event in several innovative ways.
As many as 18 teams competed in the League with each team comprising 18 players, a Coach and a Mentor. Key support was from team owners Sanjay Date & Dhiraj Jha (Athletic Drive); Manoj Bhardwaj (Delhi Tigers); Arjun Saigal (Oceans 20); Atul Aggarwal (Sterling Swingers); Pankaj Bajaj (Bajaj Foundation); Gaurav Kapur (BMW-Deutsche Motoren); Sandy Khurana & Kapil Khurana (TEEm edc); Ashish Jain (The A-Team); Rishabh Periwal & Manish Periwal (The Pioneers); Sunil Duggal (24 Lions); Sanjeev Agrawal (Coca-Cola); Kamal Aggarwal (Eagles & Birdies); Arvind Khanna (K Devils); Amit Garg (Shiva Motocorp. Land Rover); Ashwin Chandiok (Baale Golf); Nachiketa Kapur, Adarsh Mishra & Deepali Sethi Raizada (Radvin Birdie Machine); Sanjay Khanna & Kanishk Khullar (SwingKKings) AND Pia Sahni & Navin Sahni (Tee Birds)