Meet the "boy wonder" from India whom Tiger Woods befriended
New Delhi: His friend-list boasts of none other than Tiger Woods, but that is no distraction for budding golfer from the hinterlands of Haryana, Shubham Jaglan, as he wants to go a step ahead of the master.
So, does he want to be like the Tiger, "No I want to be like Jack Nicklaus," pat came the reply.
"He has won the most number of majors," pointed out the eight-year-old from a small village of Israna in district Panipat.
"Tiger Woods himself sent him a friend request," informed a proud father, Jagpal Singh Jaglan.
"Gary Player sir might have informed him (Tiger) about me," added Shubham, who spent some time with Gary on his trip to Delhi Golf Club (DGC), where the youngster is currently honing his skills.
This `boy wonder`s` introduction to the sport makes for an interesting story as most of the people in country`s rural parts desist from taking it up because of the heavy expenses involved.
And if the child comes from a family of wrestlers, the curiosity is bound to grow by leaps.
"I started golf at the age of five. My grandfather introduced me to the sport," said Shubham, who started off as a grappler sweating it out in the akhara.
"I used to go to the akhara with my uncle and even spent some time learning the nuances of the sport," he recalled.
His tryst with golf, however, began with Kapur Singh, a Non Resident Indian (NRI), setting-up a golf academy in Israna.
His grandfather got him enrolled in the academy and his journey as a golfer began from there.
Though, the centre did not last long, young Shubham`s skills impressed Singh to such an extent that he urged his father not to stop him from playing the sport.
"I was totally against his joining a sport which we even didn`t like to watch on television. It was also a matter of reputation for us, as our family supports a rich tradition of wrestlers. In fact I told my father what will people say about us, but he didn`t pay any heed to my words," the senior Jaglan said.
"One day when my father was not around my wife told me to get Shubham from the academy. When I went there Kapur Singhji told me not to stop Shubham from pursuing the sport. I asked him about the reason. He said Shubham was a natural.
"He insisted that even if I was forced to take the harsh step I should let him know. His words had a great affect on me and I began to encourage Shubham," Jagpal informed.
When the academy came to a close, Jagpal cleared a small piece of land in his backyard to facilitate his son`s practice.
"Kapur Singhji told me to buy a computer and get the Internet installed. He also told Shubham about few links from where he could learn the game," Jagpal said.
"I watched videos of Tiger Woods and other players on the Youtube but I had no place to practice. So my father cleared a small area of his field and converted it into a green with three holes," recalled the young golfer, who studied videos of Louis Oosthuizen for correcting his swing.
Shubham has not looked back since then, winning more than 25 tournaments he has participated in so far. His performance was recognised by the Delhi Golf Foundation which gave him an annual sponsorship of Rs 2 lakh and also facilitated his entry in to the DGC.
"Delhi Golf Foundation has given him an annual scholarship of Rs 2 lakh. They have made it possible for him to pursue his skills in Delhi," said Jagpal, who along with his son shifted to Delhi few months back.
Shubham recently won the New York US Kids Championship and the New Jersey US Kids Championship and was fourth at the US Kids World Championship held at North Carolina.
The young golfer finished 20th in the under-nine age group in the Callaway World Championship.
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