The “European Tour” continues to navigate around Europe as we head from South Africa to India this week. I know it’s great for the global game, but perhaps the Tour needs to reconsider its name.
This week looks like a lot of fun, at least from a viewing perspective. The Gary Player Course at DLF G&CC is pretty new, finalized in 2015 and hasn’t been used in this event until now. The layout is a beast! There is a 273-yard par 3, a 550-yard par 4, and a 624-yard par 5! A 4,000 yard inward nine. It sounds like Gary Player was watching the U.S. Open when he finalized the plans for this course.
I would expect the tournament to move up the tee boxes on those holes this week to avoid bitching from the golfers, but there are still some cool facets of the course like an island green, elevated greens, and extreme bunkering (pictured above via Richie Ramsay)
The golfers may not have the same warm feelings toward the new Gary Player Course at DLF Golf & CC by week’s end. It looks nontraditional and golfers like to blame the course for their failures if it’s not what they are used to seeing. Give Gary Player a follow this week on Twitter as he will surely be trying to defend the course all week.
Players to Watch
Anirban Lahiri … Playing in his home open, he’ll have the crowd on his side all week. He’s also inside the top 5 in the field in terms of raw talent. That makes him the man to beat in my eyes.
Romain Langasque… The Frenchman has finished top 40 in all six starts this season. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him find the winner’s circle before the year is over. This would be as good layout to do so.
Peter Uihlein… Loves playing anywhere in Asia. Whether it’s the bermuda greens or the climate, there is definitely something he likes in this part of the world.
Phachara Khongwatmai… The young Thai is showing no fear early on his career. He finished T2 at the Singapore Open and also finished runner-up at the World Super 6 Perth. He already has two wins to his name on the Asian Development Tour. Don’t sleep on the 17-year-old.
Rafa Cabrera Bello … Probably the class of the field, but I don’t love that he’s flying directly from Mexico last week. A bit of jetlag and then he needs to figure out a new course? Sounds tough. He’s also going from Mexican food to Indian food. His stomach probably hates him right now.
Maximilian Kieffer … Whenever these beastly tracks come along, people rush to target the bombers, but there will inevitably be a few shorter hitters that pop up the leaderboard (Cam Smith at Chambers Bay is the first that comes to mind). Kieffer would fit that bill as he is short but perhaps his accuracy will help him avoid all these massive bunkers.
Home Course Heros … Scavenging through the interwebs, I found a few local connections. First there is Jyoti Randhawa and Shubhankar Sharma who both call DLF G&CC their home course. That has to be a huge advantage this week on a course that nobody has seen besides them.
A few other interesting names call Delhi GC home (about an hour or hour-and-a-half away): Rashid Khan and Shiv Kapur. I would consider Khan to be a very lively sleeper. I know if I were playing in my home open just an hour from my home course, I would go visit the course once or twice to prep. I can’t confirm he’s done that, but the possibility is there for sure.
Shoot a note in the comment section if you know of anymore relevant local connections, as I didn’t dive too deep myself.
My Top 25 for the 2017 Hero Indian Open
1. Anirban Lahiri
2. Romain Langasque
3. Peter Uihlein
4. Maximilian Kieffer
5. Rafa Cabrera Bello
6. Jordan Smith
7. Nicolas Colsaerts
8. Kiradech Aphibarnrat
9. Jorge Campillo
10. Phachara Khongwatmai
11. Jyoti Randhawa
12. Dylan Frittelli
13. Chris Hanson
14. George Coetzee
15. Paul Dunne
16. Richie Ramsay
17. Rashid Khan
18. Shubhankar Sharma
19. Anthony Wall
20. Prom Meesawat
21. Ricardo Gouveia
22. Robert Rock
23. Siddikur Rahman
24. Marcus Fraser
25. Shiv Kapur