By Rahul Banerji | Tee Time Tales
Shock and disbelief from the Indian golf fraternity greeted the passing of passionate patron Siddharth Shriram from Covid-related complications on 17 May 2021.
He was 76.
For years, the flamboyant Shriram sponsored the cash-rich Honda-SIEL Masters tournament around the turn of the century.
Several top Indians won the $100,000 event including Daniel Chopra, Vivek Bhandari, Jyoti Randhawa and present chief executive of the Professional Golf Tour of India, Uttam Singh Mundy.
In later years, Shriram was a major supporter of women’s amateur golf. Till last year, Usha International footed the bill for a long-running junior programme at the Delhi Golf Club.
Shriram was associated with the game at many levels, and had set up a pitch and putt area at his Rajokri farmhouse.
“We did a small event there once,” recalls former professional and now Golf Industry Association president Brandon De Souza, “which turned into a real fun evening.
“Above everything else, he was all for Indian golf and supported it wherever he could, regardless of the cost.
“His Honda-SIEL Masters was one of the events to look forward to every year and he put a lot of money and effort into it.
“Later, his backing of women’s golf was equally important. He was passionate about the game and never bothered to hide it,” recalled De Souza.
“He will be badly missed.”
Wrote Dubai-based golf writer Joy Chakravarty, “Shriram’s Honda-Siel Motors sponsored the biggest domestic golf tournament for many years, offering a then staggering purse of appx $100k plus a Honda car.
“His companies also sponsored several ladies and amateur events. He was later president of DGC.
“I have known Mr Shriram as a very magnanimous sponsor in the late 1990s when I worked with the Indian Tour, and then as a colleague at the Masters Tournament media centre, where he came and covered the event every year for Business Standard.”
Shriram was advisor to the board of Usha International after stepping down from his executive roles in a host of companies including Mawana Sugars.
He was under treatment at Medanta Hospital in Gurgaon when he breathed his last.
Till 2012 Shriram’s Usha International partnered Japanese auto giant Honda in making passenger cars under the Honda-Siel brand.
In April last year, Usha International and Honda ended their joint venture, Honda Siel Power Products.
The Indian Golf Union said, “Grieved to hear of Siddharth Shriram’s demise, great patron of Golf, former President of Delhi Golf Club.
“Our association with him is decades old and we will miss his sage advice. Our golfing world is a poorer place with his passing.”
Well-known coach Romit Bose said on Twitter, “He was instrumental in re-structuring the professional golf tour while he was president of the PGA of India from 1995 to 1999.
“… He promoted golf by offering support to junior and amateur golf tours and national teams under the banner of his company Mawana Sugars and Usha International”
Tweeted noted coach and former pro Amandeep Singh Johl, “This is such sad news for the Golfing community of India. Great supporter of Indian Golf.”
Picture Courtesy: Twitter