Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh receiving his Dubai Golden Visa from Ismail Sharif, Managing Director of Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Indian golfer Jeev Milkha Singh receiving his Dubai Golden Visa from Ismail Sharif, Managing Director of Jumeirah Golf Estates. Image Credit: Supplied

Jeev Milkha Singh, the torchbearer of Indian golf, has been recognised for his outstanding achievements and granted the prestigious Dubai Golden Visa — becoming the first professional golfer to be bestowed with the honour.

The 49-year-old has had a long association with Dubai, having featured in several tournaments and making many friends in the city. During the 2001 Dubai Desert Classic, he established a world record — at the time — when he completed four rounds with just 94 putts as he finished in a share of sixth.

Singh, winner of four titles on the European Tour, four on the Japan Golf Tour and six on the Asian Tour, has received a 10-year ‘Gold card’ for being an elite professional athlete.

“This is a huge honour. I think I came to Dubai for the first time in 1993, and I have loved every moment of my stay here and greatly admired the energy of this fascinating city,” said Singh, who has been awarded Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award by the government of India for its citizens. My family has enjoyed the many offerings of Dubai, like the variety of restaurants and shopping outlets, but being a professional golfer, the biggest attraction for me is the quality of golf courses and the practice facilities that you get here, which really are second to none.

“Another thing that I love about Dubai is the connectivity. Given the amount of travelling that we do for tournaments, the geographical location is unbeatable. Thanks to Emirates Airline, you are never too far away from any corner of the world. I have also got a lot of support from Dubai. I was one of the first ambassadors for Jumeirah Golf Estates, and also of ‘Golf in Dubai’ for many years.

“I’m really honoured and humbled that the Dubai government has considered me for the Golden Visa. For someone who spends so much time in this city and has made so many friendships over the years, I am looking forward to being a resident here.”

Jeev joins an impressive list of sportsmen and women as well as celebrities to receive this honour of Dubai Golden Visas for top athletes.

Those on the Dubai Golden Visa Awards list include: Novak Djokovic (tennis, Serbia), Sania Mirza (tennis, India), Cristiano Ronaldo (football, Portugal), Luis Figo (football, Portugal), Miralem Pjanic (football, Bosnia), Paul Pogba (football, France), Roberto Carlos (football, Brazil), Romelu Lukaku (football, Belgium), Shoaib Malik (cricket, Pakistan), Sanjay Dutt (actor & MMA, India) and Shah Rukh Khan (actor & cricket, India).

Singh, who turned professional in 1993 after a brilliant amateur career that included representing India in the Eisenhower Trophy in 1988 and 1992, became the first Indian to qualify for the European Tour and Japan Golf Tour. He also became the first from his country to play all four Major Championships and was crowned Asia Tour No. 1 on two occasions.

Son of the legendary Indian athlete, the late ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh, he won two of the biggest tournaments on the European Tour — the 2006 Volvo Masters at Valderrama, and the 2012 Scottish Open. He also won the 2008 Singapore Open and rose to No. 28 in the world rankings, a high that few Asian golfers have managed to surpass.

Ismail Sharif, Managing Director Jumeirah Golf Estates, added: “Congratulations to Jeev on being honoured with a Dubai Golden Visa. This is a huge story for golf in Dubai and is well deserved. We look forward to Jeev being an ambassador for the city of Dubai as well as for golf in Dubai on his global travels and look forward to seeing him around Jumeirah Golf Estates and at the golf facilities in Dubai.”