x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Professional support boosts hopes for golfer Dhruv Nair

A round at St Andrews with Graeme McDowell and Ross Fisher helped the young golfers confidence, but he found it more difficult than on his PlayStation.

Dhruv Nair with Graeme McDowell and Ross Fisher at St Andrews.
Dhruv Nair with Graeme McDowell and Ross Fisher at St Andrews.

DUBAI // Dhruv Nair says he hopes to become a golf professional by the age of 15. Well, maybe 16 at the latest.

When you have shot an 89 at the Old Course at St Andrews while playing in a pro-am with two Ryder Cup players, you get to make such boasts, even at the age of 12.

The Millennium School pupil, who was born in Dubai to Indian parents, played the pro-am in September's Dunhill Links Challenge after the former Al Ahli coach David O'Leary gifted him the prize at January's Emirates Airline Invitation at Yas Links, because he had been so impressed by Dhruv's skill.

That is why his whole family found themselves crowded around the most famous first tee in the world to watch Dhruv play a round with Graeme McDowell and Ross Fisher.

"I was nervous on the first tee when I hit my drive, which I got over the water, but after that I was fine," said Dhruv, who is a member of Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club.

"Graeme and Ross were really nice to me. All the way around the asked me questions about my practice routine, what I do at the golf course and school as well.

"I played a lot of the holes from the back tees, and from seven to the 14th hole I didn't drop a shot. I even got a birdie on the ninth."

Dhruv impressed his playing partners with the way he coped with the wind, which was as new to him as was the links conditions.

"Dhruv is a lovely kid and a good golfer, and it will be interesting to see how he does," said McDowell, the former US Open champion.

So what overall impression did St Andrews leave on this youngster from Dubai?

"It looks nothing like it does on the computer game," Dhruv said. "I shot 59 on my PlayStation. It's much more difficult in real life."


Follow The National Sport on @SprtNationalUAE & Neil Cameron on @NeilCameron5