Mahela on board as golf goes the IPL way

New Delhi, Jan. 5 -- By his own admission, Shiv Kapur isn't the stereotypical golfer. "It just so happens that this business venture of mine happens to be related to golf," says Kapur, who won the individual gold medal at the 2002 Asian Games. Kapur's brainchild, the Golf Premier League (GPL), is a heady cocktail of his three prime interests - golf, cricket and business ventures.

Right from the name, there are shades of IPL and the cricket connect does not stop there - the sole international team, the Colombo Sixers, is owned by Mahela Jayawardene. The Sri Lanka cricketer was brought on board by Kapur when the two paired up during a pro-am.

To be held from February 7-10 at Aamby Valley, the GPL will feature eight teams of four pros each -- two of them will be picked via an auction, with each team having a spending cap of $150,000.

A player will have 30 seconds to complete a stroke; additionally, each round will be played over 14 holes instead of the usual 18. The reduced number isn't random. "The original St Andrews had 14 holes," quips Kapur. "So in a way, we are going back into history, yet moving towards the future."

For fans of American sporting leagues, a lot of this may sound familiar. And Kapur, who went to Purdue University on a golf scholarship, is the first to admit that his concept isn't entirely original. "I'm a sports junkie, so I've stolen from everywhere and put it all together," he says.

"So, while the league is largely modelled on the IPL, the shot clock comes from the NBA, and ranking teams according to how much they spend in the auctions, from the NFL."

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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