Interview of Sampath Chari, Rules Official and Tournament Director of PGTI:

Interview of Sampath Chari, Rules Official and Tournament Director of PGTI:

We all know what rules official do in sports and how important their role is for running an event smoothly and if the rules official is from a popular sport like Football and Cricket then majority of people know what are their main duties and what they do from morning to evening but have you ever wondered what the rules officials of golf do and how they function an event and last month DKT Sports was in Kalhar Blues and Greens Golf Club for covering PGTI’s 2021 season opener - Gujarat Open Golf Championship and on the fourth day of the event DKT Sports, was privileged to take interview of the Tournament Director/Chief Referee Mr. Sampath Chari.
 

Interview: 

How did you get involved in the golf business?
I got involved in the golf business because basically I was a sports man and I used to play a lot of cricket and other games then I broke my leg playing cricket for college cricket and then after my leg became ok, I couldn’t play cricket in the same kind of force that I used to be and somebody said why don’t you try golf and I was just happy to get into golf so, I picked up from there, got into golf started playing club level and of course I still play golf at club level, I got a handicap of 8 or 10 and I enjoyed the game.
 
Did the tournament go to your expectation?
Absolutely, you must understand during in these COVID times people have not been really playing that much with the kind of effort, whatever minimum practice facility they have where ever they are you can see during COVID time in one year they were playing from their home, somebody else’s garden, and somebody was playing on the railway track in Mumbai so, wherever they got a chance they kept practicing so, immediately we opened up, this is the first tournament this year, look at the scores this is a very difficult golf course, it’s a fabulous golf course and not being used to such green speeds and all then they are suddenly putting them into these kind of environment I think they are creditable.
 
How many events have you officiated?
This is my 810th events.
 
What does a rules official do because people know what does a cricket umpire or a football referee does but golf is very unique?
Golf is unique in the sense because in cricket and football you are playing in a very limited environment, limited space you are talking about 100 yards or 75 yards, there is boundary where everything takes place in one small little environment, here you are talking about 140 acres and you cannot roam around in a 140 acres in controlled play so, with the help of other referee we know what to do we expect players to know the rules so, very rightly said golf rules are little complicated, we do not understand what they are so, apart from a golf course looking good there are so, many things involved in terms of penalties and at the professional level penalties means you lose money, every shot that you lose you keep going down the order and if you miss the cut you get nothing and if you make the cut then it’s all money and after making the cut if you make mistakes you end up losing hell of lot of money, you got to be very careful with you rules to make sure that you are doing the correct thing this is because ‘A’ you are playing by the rules and ‘B’ you’re protecting the entire field to be fair and square to everybody.
 
Do you remember the first game you officiated?
Yes, the first game that I officiated was way back in 1998, it was the Wills Masters at the Classic Golf Resort in Gurgaon.
 
How have you evolved from your 1998 event till now, as being an official or a human being?
It has helped both ways, if you’re a good official you develop good positive habits, you develop good positive thinking, you know that you suppose to do the right things always because there are so, many people are dependent on what you do, on the results that you kept and you got make sure like just I said sometimes back you got be fair and square in whatever you do that’s the philosophy in life you know in golf they tell you to be fair you play the course as you find the ball as it lies that’s exactly what you do in life you’re not playing a ball you are in different ball game there, you got to be absolutely playing in certain accept, the goodness and badness that comes along with it, try and become better from there.
 
How often do you meet golf course superintendents?
Every time I have a tournament, I meet golf course superintendents because golf course superintendents are my right hand, I and the players expect a lot from me and I expect from the golf course superintendents whatever you see in the golf course in terms of green speed, in terms of the difficulty of the golf course, in terms of the bunkers, the penalty areas, the hazards, everything, all that is under my direction to the golf course superintendents to tell them what I decide, what I require.
 
Do you still carry a rulebook?
I always carry a rule book, it is a very good guide never leave your rulebook behind that’s the first lesson that we are told when you become a rules official never leave your guide behind always carry with you and you never know what happens sometimes there is so, much of pressure, sometimes there are big players playing, sometimes there is too much of crowd, you’re not focusing on what you are doing that is the time you tend to make a mistake, golf is such a game where sometimes for two-three hours you do nothing and suddenly after three hours you will have so many rulings coming that’s when you get flabbergasted, you get surprised, you get shocked, what’s happening then it comes one after the other you tend to make mistake so, rulebook helps you in avoiding that mistakes.
 
What common errors does amateurs or average players make?
Like if I told you if you don’t know the rules anybody can make any kind of mistake like dropping a ball from a wrong place or what he thinks is a nice place, dropping and placing a ball itself is a breach able so, they keep making mistakes all the time unless they learn to correct themselves to what is what and unless they learn the rules it’s very difficult to correct yourself.
 
One memorable moment you cherish?
I would say, definitely working on the joint-sanctioned events with the European Tour and the Asian Tour, I happen to do the Barclays Singapore Open twice so, I happen to meet all the world stars so, referring in those world events was just amazing, people whom you normally see on TV so they were there with me and I was giving them ruling so, it was a different kind of thrill altogether.
 
What’s the relationship with the players like?
See, your relationship with players depends on what kind of rapport they have about you, there is a picture you create for yourself and they create for you and what they think about you so, if they think you are good the work you do you always carry a good picture and they carry a good picture in the sense that it’s not like they like you they want give favorable or something, they are very happy when you give them correct ruling irrespective of who they are so, the first and foremost thing is to be absolutely correct in what you do in your work atmosphere and once you gain that confidence then you know we don’t have an enemy.
 
What’s the strangest ruling you’ve ever handed out?
Disqualification, I mean that’s the most serious ruling that can happen, I had the unfortunate incident of disqualifying so, many players because they did not know right from equipment, wrong scores to entering wrong, they all call for disciplinary measures. We handle those kinds of situations, there are many times you track with the committee who takes the ultimate decision based on what I tell them and on subsequent interrogation with the players and it has led to a lot of disqualifications something which you don’t like but again like I said being fare to the entire field playing been I am very happy because they always made the right decision.
 
Five things you always carry whenever you go to the golf course?
My rulebook, I carry my stopwatch, I have my distance measuring device, I have my pace of play sheet that I note down of pace of play of each player you know after golf is a big game and these days worldwide it’s a little slow game just try to make it faster we have lots of rules for pace of play so, I keep that with me and I always keep a copy of local rules of every golf club that I work in because I make the local rules so, I should have my documents ready to show it to a player that I have covered all the rules and what you have done is where you incur a breach or where you don’t incur a breach.
 
How do you manage two jobs simultaneously, one being of a tournament director and second of chief referee?
Fortunately, I am working with a team that understands me very well so, getting the entire work done off the course has become a very routine things like having tees, making the draws, making the scoresheets, making the local rules and I have a lot of referees to assist me on the course so, that part of work is already taken care off and when I am on the course I direct all the referees, direct all the players so, I have the double role task of managing both that and this now, it’s become a habit I know exactly what to do and we keep corresponding on the radio, on the phone so, we knew exactly what needs to be done.
 
What’s the most frustrating thing you face in your job?
The most frustrating thing I face in my job is slow play, I find people deliberately slow at times they don’t seem to be improving and when I have to put them on the clock and then they keep running and ultimately, we end up having an argument with them that is something I have to do, not the part of my job again and in keeping entire field playing, it’s very frustrating it angers me at times so, I tend to shout at people which I should not which I do but.
 
If you could change one rule, what would it be?
It’s a good question and I think the best answer for that would be you know many times we have relief situations where a right handed player to escape from a bad lie or a particular situation, gain advantage he pretends to play left handed and sometimes its fine, most of the time it’s not fine his just trying to take advantage of what it is, I would like a rule put in where a right handed player if he wants to play left handed then he must play a left handed shot if gets to leave he should not turn back and play right handed again so, whatever fair stance you’re taking on a given situation to play a shot that is the shot you must play after you get your relief this will eradicate so, many problems.

 

By Dhruv Trivedi

Connect to Us: dhruv@dktsports.com

March 07, 2021 in Interviews

Interview of Rahil Gangjee

Interview of Rahil Gangjee

Rahil Gangjee is playing professional golf for the last 21 years and during the Gujarat Open Golf Championship 2021, Rahil talked to DKT Sports about playing in Japan Golf Tour and what it felt to win the Panasonic Open Golf Championship and his time in Web.com Tour.
 

Interview: 

How and when you started playing golf?
I started when I was nine years old at the Tollygunge Club in Calcutta that’s the club my dad used to be a member of and I used to do a lot of horse riding in that club so, my dad decided actually to make me try out golf and there was a coaching camp which was held by Thai Airways and a gentleman named Alan Singh was the coach that’s when I started.
 
What inclined you to take golf as a career?
It was actually a very complicated decision because when I turned professional there was not that much money in the game but my coach Mr. Ajay Gupta was the main factor making me turn pro.
 
How difficult or easy were your initial years in golf?
I would say it was difficult, I actually didn’t perform really well, as sub-junior career and my junior career also I didn’t hadn’t done much and when I turned amateur that was when I found my coach that’s when he kind of transition me into better player so when I did turn professional, the initial years were tough but I still had one win in my first year but I was doing a lot of learning from my coach so, I would say tougher than easier.
 
How was the transition from amateur to professional?
I would say the difference between playing amateur golf and professional golf is that you play a lot more golf, that’s why you need a different kind of stamina to play golf because you are playing at least 30 weeks in the year back in 2001, it wasn’t as many but now of course there are a lot more weeks to play as a professional than an amateur so, that’s the main difference.
 
Your first win?
2001, It was in Lucknow HT Pro golf, I won by about two shots I think from Mukesh Kumar if I remember it correctly.
 
Your favorite golf course in India?
It got to be between KGA and Royal Calcutta Golf Club both have been home clubs to me and RCGC was my home club before and I moved to Bangalore so, KGA became my home club both are very good golf courses.
 
Outside India?
I really like for some reason Hong Kong Golf Club.
 
Favorite Indian player to play golf with?
My good friend Arjun Atwal, I know he doesn’t stay in India but we have been friends for many years and it’s always fun playing with him, he is very positive as a person and I feed off that so, I would always love to play with him.
 
One of the most difficult times in your professional golf career?
I had a few ups and downs but then I would not recognize one year as a bad year, there was time when I came back from America, I used to play on the Web.com Tour in 2011 and 2012, I came back after I lost my card, I didn’t had a card in America, I didn’t had a card Asia, I didn’t had a card in India so, I lost all my cards and I went back to Q-School in Asia, I made my card, I finished second in Q-School and I had also comeback to PGTI Q-School which I played in Calcutta I remember.
 
How satisfying was it to win the Panasonic Open after a long gap of 14 years?
Yeah, it was unreal I think because you see a lot of your friends win also and you think yeah you can do it but doesn’t happen for such a long time, at times you started losing heart but I guess I am a kind of guy, I can’t give up, I think that’s what basically kept me going and when I did win it was little unreal because I couldn’t believe that I won after so, many years but it was a tough time for me that time so, I was really esthetic.
 
Large number of Indians are playing in the Asian Tour and what fascinated you to join the Japan Golf Tour?
So, the Japanese tour and the Asian tour, they have two co-sanctioned events, one is the Panasonic Open and one is the Diamond Cup so, I happen to win the Panasonic Open and that’s how I got into the Japan Tour as in the winner’s category.
 
In most of the tours English is used for communication and is language a barrier whenever you play in Japan Golf Tour where Japanese is largely used as a means of communication?
Definitely, language is a barrier, I have a Japanese manager who helps me a lot and he do all the translation and everything, a lot of the Japanese make big effort to try and make themselves understood even if it’s in a really bad English still try very hard and I know a few words in Japanese and also, we have a goggle translator at the end of the day so, in a way it’s still ok.
 
For how many years you’re playing in the Japan Golf Tour?
2018 onwards (3 years).
 
How’s the life on PGTI Tour and Japan Tour?
I think it’s a little different here, it’s a little different there and there (in Japan) I have only a few friends and here (in India) I have many friends and that would be the major difference in tour life, if you ask about golf courses there is a major difference I don’t think India has that many golf courses which the standard that I would wish to play and this one of the golf courses (Kalhar Blues and Greens Course) which I really like and is up to international standards but I think if golf has to improve here in India, we need to provide better golf courses, better putting surfaces and that would probably the difference between there and here.
 
One sponsor that has stayed with you for long time?
I hadn’t a sponsor that has stayed with me for a long time at all, in fact when I first started off, I was with Titleist they provided me with equipment, that was 2001-2010, then equipment change happened in 2011 when I went to America then I was with Taylor Made 2011 till 2018 then I changed to Yonex that was my third sponsor and now in 2020 I came back to Titleist but all of them were not giving me financial help mostly equipment help, there was one gentleman who helped me out as a sponsor Mr. Dilip Thomas he is from AV Thomas and company, he helped me maybe for three years in my professional career and that was probably the only sponsor I had personally otherwise, most of my career I funded myself.
 
Last year Tiger Woods changed his Scottie Cameron Newport 2 putter after 21 years and do you have any club which you are using for a long time, any specific club?
No, I have changed club brands three times now, every two years I have changed my putters, I have changed putter styles also.
 
Putter design?
Not only just the design but the way I putt, when I first started out it was a regular short putter, then I have been to a belly putter then I went to counter balance putter then I came back to the short putter and now, I am using the armlock putter so, it changed over many years, I think armlock putter has suited me the best out of all the styles I have used but mostly I stick with Scottie Cameron.
 
How was the experience of playing in Web.com Tour and why did you quit after 2012?
So, I lost my card after 2012 so, that’s why I came back, the experience was quite intense I would describe it as intense because we would play 26 events in matter of seven to eight months so, we would start somewhere in February-March and we would finish by October and October used to be Q-School at that point and we used to jam it all into once so I was mostly on the road so, that made it really intense and the standard of golf was much higher than I played even on the Japanese Tour because the players that go on the Web.com Tour are the ones that transit between PGA Tour and Web.com Tour and now of course Korn Ferry Tour so, the standard of play is immensely high, there was a lot of stress on me not only on the golf part but financially when I finished playing golf in 2012 there, I was totally broke I had zero money in my bank account, I had to comeback so, I couldn’t stay there because I had no money left.
 
Your most memorable victory?
It has to be the 2018 Panasonic Open in Japan.
 
What are your main goals for 2021?
Right now, of course I want to win one more time in Japan, that’s for sure it will prove a lot to me but I also want to finish in top-30 in Japan at the end of the year that means, not only I would have kept my card but I would be able to play the last event of the year in Japan which is called the JT Cup it’s like the year-ending tournament but only 30 players are allowed to play so, if I get to play that I know I am playing pretty good.
 
You are playing professional golf since 2000 so, you have seen the PGA of India and PGTI both so, what’s the major difference you find between PGA of India and PGTI?
So, when we first started off PGA of India the amount of money we were playing for was not as much, the major difference that happened was that the money went up, the minimum used to be 10 lakhs, went to 15 lakhs then became 20 lakhs now, its 30 lakhs that’s the minimum, exponentially has golf grown in India, I don’t think so, we could have done a lot better but the difference is money, another difference I would say from back then till now is the standard of golf, the standard of golf has become better the number that the cut goes at now is par, under par something like that, the standard of golf has definitely become better under the PGTI.

 

By Dhruv Trivedi

Connect to Us: dhruv@dktsports.com

March 05, 2021 in Interviews

Interview of Arshpreet Thind, GM, Glade One Golf Resort

Interview of Arshpreet Thind, GM, Glade One Golf Resort

Recently, Glade One Golf Resort hosted its first professional event of Glade One Masters 2021 and before the event DKT Sports took an interview of Arshpreet Thind, General Manager of Glade One Resort.


Interview: 

Is this the first time Glade One Resort is hosting a PGTI event?
Yes, this is the first time Glade One is hosting a PGTI event because we opened in 2016 and we haven’t had a professional event earlier so, it’s a start and it’s a big start what better to host the best golfers in the country.
 
What are your expectations for Glade One Masters 2021?
Expect basically to come over and golfers of India needs to see what Ahmedabad has to offer, Ahmedabad has one of the best sets of courses around and Glade One though it being a nine-hole course it’s the best in the world, we have just named the best golf course in the world so, what better time than now for the players to come in and experience the best facility in the world.
 
What was your role in planning of the Glade One Masters 2021?
Ideally, I am the one whose coordination between PGTI and Glade One since, I am representing Glade One and I have been part of PGTI also so, I am the General Manager at Glade One so, we are the host starting from the preparation of the golf course to the prize money to the draws everything, we are the one whose doing it.
 
How long this preparation is going on?
It’s been carrying out for over 60 days, over 60 days the PGTI came on board and we decided have the event so, the preparation has been going on since then.
 
When did you first joined Glade One Resort and if you can say your story in short?
I grown up in North India, my father was in the army so, moved all over the country with him, played golf, played professional golf, won on the PGTI and in 2016 March, I joined Glade One, in April they were supposed to open so, I was lucky enough to presented the opportunity to come in and manage the golf course so, I have been there since then.
 
You are not playing in Glade One Masters 2021?
No, I am not playing in Glade One Masters and I know PGTI is professional enough to manage everything but yet one person from Glade One has to be there to built the lives and continue with it.
 
So, will you miss playing in your home golf course?
I actually play there every day but yes, it’s always a good opportunity to play a tournament at your home course but not everyday do you host a major event at your golf course so, I would rather take on that opportunity and complete that role to the fullest.
 
Do you miss the days when you were professional golfer or this managing life is also great?
This managing life is great, the company is great, the property is great but yes you set out to become a professional golfer so, you do miss it and maybe at one point I goanna work hard back into it but no complains working there and managing that and it’s a new phase in life and I am enjoying it.
 
Two years back your said that I play four to five events a year so, what are the major events that you target?
See, for me decision making and playing an event its either has to be a good venue or a good city so, either the golf course has to be good or the city has to be nice so, where ever I have played junior golf, amateur golf so, either I had to go back to those venues or where ever I have friends and family there try go there because it becomes a dual-purpose trip of playing golf and meeting up with family and friends so, prize money is not a concern.


By Dhruv Trivedi

Connect to Us: dhruv@dktsports.com

March 03, 2021 in Interviews

View more older blog....

Copyright © 2020 DKT Sports. All Rights Reserved.  |  Sitemap