Sooner or later, that glorious day will arrive when an Indian golfer sinks the winning putt on the last hole of a major competition. When that day does eventually present itself, there will certainly be partying on the streets from Delhi to Kolkata as a sports-mad nation can finally claim to have a major winning golfer among them. The burning question is though; who will that be?
The first name on everyone’s lips will be Anirban Lahiri given that the 32-year-old is a regular on the PGA Tour which is by and large where all the world’s best golfers ply their trade. Lahiri showed a great deal of promise on the European Tour having claimed two victories before making the move over to the United States. One of those wins incidentally, was his national open after winning the Hero Indian Open in 2015.
Lahiri hasn’t quite hit the heights people thought he would after touching down in the US but he has still managed to rake up over $5 million in prize money over the last four years. To say he has underachieved may seem a bit harsh, but if you were to look at the latest odds in the golf betting for the Open Championship in July you wouldn’t find Lahiri’s name there as he still has to qualify for the event after falling down to 497th in the World Golf Rankings.
Anirban Lahiri (-7) wins the Hero Indian Open on the first playoff hole over S.S.P Chawrasia. pic.twitter.com/Rbi6243hJm
— Golf Central (@GolfCentral) February 22, 2015
The official world golf rankings will show that young Shubhankar Shama is better placed at number 283. Indeed, the 23-year-old is without a doubt the hottest prospect in Indian golf at the moment after announcing himself onto the international scene with a bang.
It was back in 2017 that Shama became the youngest ever Indian to win on the European Tour by some six years after he won the Joburg Open in South Africa. It was only two months after that when Shama went to the Maybank Championship in Malaysia and blew the field away to win his second European Tour title, still aged just 21-years-old.
It’s with Shama’s X factor and big match temperament in mind that leads one to believe that this youngster could be the man to finally end the drought for India. It won’t be easy and may take Shama a few more years to feel less like an imposter at the major championship events. You may well be asking yourself how a man that has won twice on the European Tour could possibly feel that way about himself?
It was fun playing with @BKoepka for the first two day @TheOpen .What impressed me the most was his decisiveness over every shot . Enjoyed and learned a few things . Excited for the weekend and a positive finish. pic.twitter.com/j1m6pgoglz
— Shubhankar Sharma (@shubhankargolf) July 20, 2019
It’s a very valid question but there’s every chance that if Tiger Woods was stood next to Shama on the range before the Masters started, he wouldn’t know the 23-year-old’s name. It’s a ruthless existence on the PGA Tour and even if a player like Shama is more than good enough to eventually win a major, he has to convince himself of it before it can happen.
And when you come from a nation that has never before been able to boast a major winner, well, the job becomes that much harder. There is just something you feel, that says that will all change over the next ten years.