26 March, 2019: Aaron Rai, Julian Suri and Jack Singh Brar. All three players, who feature this week at the Hero Indian Open, have strong Indian connections, but none has an Indian passport. While Rai and Brar wear English colours, Suri is American. But they all are of Indian origin, though they have been in their respective countries for most of their lives.
Suri’s father was a tennis player and later coach, who shifted base to US and saw in his son a potential for golf. Rai, who wanted to be a Formula-1 racer finally got into golf after his mother, Dalvir, who is of Kenyan-Indian descent, bought him a set of plastic clubs. Aaron’s father, Amrik, who is also of Indian descent, was once offered a tennis scholarship, but he chose a conventional career over sport.
Brar, who is of British Asian descent, won the Faldo series in 2012 and then played Walker Cup for England and won three of his four matches in 2017, following which he turned pro.
Suri, 27, won the Made in Denmark tournament in August 2017, and was second at Hong Kong Open in 2017, and he went on to reach the season-ending DP World Tour Championships in 2017. Suri’s best world ranking has been 60th.
Rai, 24, winner of the Hong Kong Open in 2018 a year after Suri came second, also won three titles on European Challenge Tour, and his best world ranking has been 103rd.
Brar is the latest Indian-origin player to catch the eye. The 22-year-old from Southampton, turned pro in late 2017. He won an event on the Alps Tour in Europe in 2018 and the same year he also won on the Challenge Tour and was Top-6 or better in five other events. That helped him qualify for the main European Tour this year.
Suri came through Duke University and turned pro in 2013 and began making his mark by qualifying for the Challenge Tour in 2016. A long-hitter, he is often seen as a player with huge potential who has also played the Majors (British) Open (T-28) and the PGA Championships (T-19) in 2018 besides gaining numerous starts on the PGA Tour. He was also T-8 at Houston Open, for which he made the main field through Monday qualifiers.
While Rai is 13th on the Race to Dubai, Brar who was T-12 at Kenya Open is 96th. Suri, who has played a few Majors, too, has just returned to playing after being out of action since his appearance at the Turkish Airlines Open last November. He showed that he is on way back with a creditable T-20 at Maybank Championships last Sunday.
So, this week along with the home boys, watch out also for this trio, whose Indian connections will ensure them some extra support.