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40-turned Jeev optimistic ahead of Singapore

The Indian is convinced that 'life begins at 40', as he gets ready to tee up at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic.

News18test sharma |

Updated:April 4, 2012, 3:54 AM IST
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40-turned Jeev optimistic ahead of Singapore
The Indian is convinced that 'life begins at 40', as he gets ready to tee up at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic.

Singapore: It's been four years since Jeev Milkha Singh won a total on any tour, but the Indian is convinced that 'life begins at 40', as he gets ready to tee up at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic on Thursday.

"We have a saying on Tour, new life starts at 40. Whenever you turn 40 you have a new life in golf. I believe in that saying, as I turned 40 four months ago. (And last week) it was fantastic to watch Digvijay (Singh) winning as he's also 40. It gives us hope and I do feel I have more years left and I'm going to do much better (than 2006 and 2008, when he won four times in each year)," said Jeev.

Singapore is where Jeev won one of his four titles in 2008 when he beat a very strong field, including numerous Major champions, to win the Barclays Singapore Open. It is also the tournament where a young Indian, Himmat Rai, is the defending champion. Two other Indians, Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal have also tasted victory in Singapore. So Jeev feels he has a lot going for him.

"Singapore always gives me good feelings and positive vibes, especially the way golfers think. When you come back to a country where you've won, when you go back, you say to yourself you've won here and it's great feeling and I'm back here. I'm excited to be back. I'm fit. I'm feeling better with my game. It's been a slow start but I'm looking forward to this week," he said.

There is a touch of disappointment that in the week of the Masters, he is playing in another tournament in a different part of the globe. Jeev admitted he would miss the Masters Tournament, the year's first Major. He played at Augusta National for three straight years from 2007, when he was ranked in the world's top-50.

"In life, golf is like a roller-coaster. You're up there and you're down there. It's all part of learning and it's a humbling game at the end of the day. You have to keep your head on your shoulders and you have to keep working. I've had three great years at the Masters and I've not been there the last two or three years."

"I would like to be back there, that's my goal, to be back in the world's top-50 in the future. I feel it's all part of learning. You have to take it in stride. You have to keep trying and learning," Jeev said.

"I'm a firm believer, looking at Tom Watson and Greg Norman at the British Open, and there are guys winning on the PGA Tour and European Tour in their 40s. I have a lot of golf left in me. I'm feeling fit. I've felt the best in the last four years. That's why I'm making the statement that I'm looking forward to my years ahead. I feel I can play till the age of 50."

The USD 400,000 ISPS Handa Singapore Classic has attracted over 40 other Tour champions with an accumulated 100 victories, including current Order of Merit leader Jbe Kruger of South Africa, title holder Himmat Rai of India, Singapore's Lam Chih Bing, Mardan Mamat and Lam Zhiqun and Japanese stars Tetsuji Hiratsuka and Yuta Ikeda. And there is also Jeev's fellow Indian, Digvijay Singh, who claimed his maiden Asian Tour victory at the Panasonic Open India at the age of 40 on Sunday and 12 years after he first played on the Tour.

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