DUBAI // India's most established golfer is confident he can finally add the Omega Dubai Desert Classic to his CV in January.
Jeev Milkha Singh, the world No 96, will arrive at Emirates Golf Club in upbeat mood, having last week collected the Asia Pacific Lifetime Achievement Award alongside Jack Nicklaus and Colin Montgomerie before forming an integral part of the Asia team that vanquished Europe in the Royal Trophy.
Jeev, a Golf in Dubai ambassador, endured a frustrating 2012, underscoring a steady start to the season with victory at July's Scottish Open - the fourth European Tour title of his career and his first since 2008 - only to sustain a finger injury that then limited him to seven tournaments.
However, the 41 year old will tee off at the Majlis on January 31 imbued with a new sense of optimism. Of his 15 Classic appearances, his best performance remains the sixth place secured during Tiger Woods's domination in 2001, although Jeev feels this time he could provide a stern challenge for the Coffee Pot Trophy.
"I have won tournaments in different parts of the world, but winning in Dubai would be special," said the winner of 19 events worldwide. "Being an ambassador of Golf in Dubai, the tournament is very close to my heart. I have always felt very good being there. In fact, I call it a home away from home."
Jeev proved his affection for the emirate at last month's DP World Tour Championship, when, despite the finger problem preventing him from hitting punch shots, he carded a third-round 64, equalling the then course record, en route to a tied-21st finish.
"Injuries did a take toll on my body. I no longer play that many tournaments in a season as I used to, but the good thing is that I have achieved the level of fitness I need to compete on the tour," he said.
"It will also depend on the mindset that week and how you deal with the pressure. Somehow, I have this good feeling I would do well in Dubai as I am striking the ball pretty well."
Mohamed Juma Buamaim, the vice chairman and chief executive of Golf in Dubai, said: "Without doubt [Jeev's] contribution to Asian golf has been immense and he is also considered among the elite on the Japanese and European Tour. Winning the Asia Pacific Lifetime Achievement award alongside someone like Jack Nicklaus and Colin Montgomerie speaks volumes of his dedication, fighting spirits and honesty in the sport."
* With agency
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