Christel House Open – the one-day tournament was played in 20 golf courses and at an equal number of time zones spread across five continents. The event was brought to India by Tiger Sports and supported and organised in Pune by Encompass.
Says Sukrit Singh, CEO, Encompass, “ We are very proud to be a part of this charity event also the fact that it’s the world’s longest golf tournament ever held. This is again a matter a pride for us, especially for me being an ardent golf player.”
Bangalore and Pune were the two host cities to form the Indian leg of the worldwide event. The first tee-offs was at Karnataka Golf Club Course in Bangalore and Pune Club Golf Course, while the last putt was in California. The FedEx ball used for the tee-off in Bangalore was shipped to California by FedEx. The same ball was then used on the 18th hole in California.
The proceeds from the Christel House Open in India will be utilised for the new Christel House Learning Center in Hennur in Bangalore. The mission of the centre is to help orphan, abandoned and under-privileged children break the cycle of poverty and to make them self sufficient and contributing members of the society. Christel House, founded by Christel DeHaan in 1988 has four other Christel House Learning Centers – Mexico, Venezuela, South Africa and the US. In India, the Delhi-based Tiger Sports Marketing is managing the event in both the cities.
The participating celebrities included Indian Cricketer of the Century and brand ambassador for the tournament Kapil Dev, former India cricketers Syed Kirmani, Venkatesh Prasad and Sujtih Somasundar along with hockey champion Ashish Ballal and former National diving champion Charu Sharma.
In all a total of 116 players lined up to tee off for the cause. The event was played on a `Texas Two-man team scramble’ format where the team handicap was 75 per cent of the average handicap. The winners of each leg qualify for the 2004 Christel House Open World Championship to be held at one of the world’s best courses – Mission Hills, near Palm Springs, California on August 30-31, 2004. The tournament was hosted by the legendary golfer Gary Player who had designed the course also.
ING Vysya was the India Gold Presenting Sponsor while 3M India was the Co-sponsor. The tournament was also supported by Air Sahara, RCI, Taj Group of Hotels, Swarovski, McDowells, Mayor and Daks London.