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Home A PRIVILEGED LIFE

The European Tour is off to India this week, which sounds a little off course. Asia will never be confused for Europe and India represents some unique experiences within the continent for those that are willing to make the journey. “It’s a very different experience to Europe, both on and off the course. We’re staying at the resort this week so I may not get out too much, but certainly the last couple of years I’ve seen a little bit of the place and seen how some people live, and it makes you realize how lucky you are,” remarked Austrian, Bernd Wiesberger, who is making his third appearance in the Avantha Masters. “But the people always seem to be happy, and they’ve always got a smile on their faces. So it’s a good place to come, and I enjoy the hospitality of the place. There’s a lot of warmth and color here.”

Australian, Andrew Dodt was able to leverage his original experience to his advantage as he won the event three years ago. “It really kick-started my career on The European Tour,” he recalled, “It probably hasn’t gone as well since as I would’ve liked it to, but I managed to keep my card by the skin of my teeth. It’s one of my favorite events on the Tour, so I’m really looking forward to it. It’s certainly very different to Europe, but I really like the culture and the people, because they’re so friendly. I love the climate too – it feels like being back home in Australia.”

In the three years of the tournament, two of the champions have made the Avantha Masters their first European Tour victory. Dodt win in its inaugural year and South African Jbe Kruger last year. Jaypee Greens Golf & Spa Resort is being used for the first time for a European Tour event. The Greg Norman-designed course staged the 2008 SAIL Open on the Asian Tour and is the only course designed by the Australian in India.

While the life of a Touring professional often appears exciting, most wouldn’t expect to end up in India, especially those playing on the European Tour. Englishman, Simon Dyson was under the weather before he even touched down in India. “I’m feeling really ill. I got a stomach virus back in England, so I spent all day in bed and had to force myself out of bed this morning (yesterday),” Dyson stated. “I felt really bad on Saturday then flew out here on Sunday, and I actually felt alright on the flight. But then I started feeling horrendous again, so we’re back to square one a little bit. Hopefully I will have shaken it off by the time the tournament comes round,” he added. Dyson was forced to withdraw from the Pro-Am portion of the event. The food is part and parcel of the experience and players understand that coming in. “I love the food, although I’m not eating anything at the moment! My wife and I are always going out for curries back home,” said Dyson. “ I quite like spicy food but Indian spicy is very different from Austrian spicy, so I have to be very careful at the buffet!” added Wiesberger. “I think you have to (enjoy spicy foods) when you come out here, because there’s not too many alternatives! I enjoy trying different foods and experimenting – it’s all part of the experience,” added Dodt. Makes this week’s PGA TOUR stop in Tampa sounds pretty bland, doesn’t it?