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Rashid gets support from Shamim, Mukesh; top golfers refuse to comment

By Pti

New Delhi, May 27: Rashid Khan has been left isolated with renowned Indian golfers steering clear of the controversy, a day after the two-time Asian Tour champion was detained by police for trying to enter the Delhi Golf Club (DGC) here.

Rashid and nine other caddie-turned-golfers were detained and taken to Tuqhlaq Road police station for questioning after they tried to enter DGC to practice on Saturday. The 28-year-old from Delhi on Sunday alleged that the DGC is discriminating against golfers from humble background. He even threatened to quit the sport and give up his Olympic dream if the club doesn't allow him to use its facilities.

While Rashid received the support of two-time European Tour champion Shubhankar Sharma and domestic regulars Shamim Khan and Mukesh Kumar, former Asian tour winners like Jyoti Randhawa, SSP Chawrasia and Gaganjeet Bhullar decided not to comment on the issue.

"I don't want to comment anything. I don't have the whole picture, I don’t know what is happening. I don't know what was discussed between Rashid and DGC officials, so I would rather not comment," Randhawa told PTI.

Chawrasia, who is playing in Denmark, said: "I don't know exactly what happened. I am not from Delhi so I never had such issues. Some players are playing while some are having issues apparently. So it is a thing between players and DGC. There is a system in place and hope it gets sorted."

Professional Golf Tour of India CEO Uttam Singh Mundy also said it is a one-off case and the body cannot interfere. "I can't comment on that because I don't know what happened from either side, whether it is Rashid or DGC," he said. "It is an individual thing and association can't get involved in it because everyone has individual rights and I have no idea about it. It is an issue between the players and club members. We don't have all the details of all the players on an individual basis."

However, Shubhankar said he was extremely sad and distressed after learning about the story. "Golfers like Rashid who are champions and represented India, if they don't have access to the club then what would happen to the other talented golfers. DGC shouldn't come across as a club for the elite. Golfers who made India proud should be their first priority," Sharma said.

"I don't want DGC to change its norms, neither do I want that golfers to get away if they break rules. But there should be a proper communication and it can be sorted," he added.

Putting his weight behind Rashid, Mukesh, a 2016 Panasonic Open India champion, claimed he too was not allowed to enter inside the DGC recently. "I was also not allowed entry when I had gone there recently after playing in Chandigarh. I thought may be because of the fight with others, I was also not given entry," he said.

"Whatever is happening is wrong. They have worked as caddies at DGC and then achieved glory as a player. Players need to be given the right to practice," said Mukesh, who practices at Mhow Golf Course.

"It is a problem with only DGC, no other club in the country stops players from practising. If it continues it will affect golf."

Shamim Khan, a two-time winner of the PGTI Order of Merit, said there is no respect for the professionals who had started their career as a caddie at the DGC. "This issue has been going on for two years now. The caddies who became professionals don't have any respect despite playing the sports for so long. Now they are playing politics, allowing some while discriminating against others," he said.

"In January, we all were banned from DGC, so I have not been going to DGC for last five months. Then they came up with another list in April where they included me. They are coming with many rules every now and then."

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Story first published: Monday, May 27, 2019, 21:04 [IST]
Other articles published on May 27, 2019
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