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Hero Honda to sponsor Indian Open

Hero Honda Motors Ltd, the world's number one two wheeler company, has strengthened its commitment to supporting golf in India by becoming title sponsor of India 's national Open.

In an exciting sponsorship initiative, Hero Honda has signed a three-year agreement with the event's promoter, the World Sport Group, to title sponsor the prestigious tournament - which tees off later this month at Delhi Golf Club from October 27 to 30.

The overall purse for the Hero Honda Indian Open will be US$300,000 and in a landmark development it will become the first golf tournament in India to be broadcast live on television. For what will be the 42 nd edition of the Indian Open, the event will go live at the weekend on the ESPN STAR Sports network.

Hero Honda has also generously agreed to increase the prize money to US$400,000 in 2006, and US$500,000 in 2007.

Thailand 's Thaworn Wiratchant, the current leader of the Asian Tour Order of Merit following two victories this year, will headline a strong field that will see Jyoti Randhawa help lead the local contingent. Randhawa, presently third on the Merit list, claimed the Indian Open in 2000.

"The Indian Open is one of the most important golf tournaments in India and indeed a celebrated event on the Asian Tour and so it is with great joy that Hero Honda assume the role of title sponsor for the first time this year," said Pawan Munjal, Managing Director and CEO, Hero Honda Motors.

"Hero Honda has been at the forefront of sponsorship of golf in India for a number of years through our sponsorship of the domestic tour and the Hero Honda Masters from 1997 to 2003. We are now delighted to be able to see our support of golf evolve so magnificently through our involvement with the Indian Open," added Munjal.

The enthusiastic support of Hero Honda has been warmly welcomed by the World Sport Group (WSG), Asia 's largest sports marketing agency and leaders in the development of professional golf in Asia . This year marks WSG's maiden season as promoter of the Indian Open, and the Singapore-based company is delighted that the tournament is taking shape so successfully.

"We are indebted to Hero Honda for confidently taking the decision to become title sponsor and we look forward to an exciting future for the Indian Open," said Seamus O'Brien, President, World Sport Group.

"Like Hero Honda, the World Sport Group take great heart from being able to facilitate the growth of the game of golf in our region and the forthcoming Hero Honda Indian Open clearly is a tremendous boost for the sport," added O'Brien.

The Indian Open, India 's oldest running international sporting competition, has been staged at Delhi Golf Club for the past three years. Mardan Mamat claimed the title last year to become the first Singaporean to win on the Asian Tour.

"The Indian Golf Union is thrilled to welcome Hero Honda on board as title sponsor of the Indian Open. It is fitting that such a respected and successful organisation should lend its credentials to our fine championship," said Prakash Bhandari, President, Indian Golf Union.

"With a fine title sponsor, an outstanding venue in Delhi Golf Club and the exciting prospect of live television coverage for the first time the stage has been set for one of our finest Opens to date," added Bhandari.

The Indian Open will form the 23 rd leg of this year's Asian Tour, which features 28 events on its schedule boasting over US$20 million in prize money.

"This year's Indian Open welcomes a new title sponsor in Hero Honda, which has been a staunch supporter of the game in India over the past decade. I am confident that Hero Honda's passion and dedication will leave a lasting legacy in the Indian Open history," said Louis Martin, Chief Executive, Asian Tour.

Home fans will be hoping to see an Indian take the title this year following a succession of victories in recent years.

Ali Sher became the first Indian to win the national Open in 1991. He triumphed again in 1993 before the title stayed in Indian hands for three consecutive years following Firoz Ali's win in 1998, Arjun Atwal's success in 1999 and Randhawa's victory in 2000.

In 2002, Vijay Kumar added another Indian name onto the trophy when he marched to victory at Delhi Golf Club.


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