Kuala Lumpur, October 24: Siddikur, nicknamed the ‘Tiger Woods of Bangladesh’, will finally get his chance to face-off with the man himself at the CIMB Classic which starts on Thursday.
Woods, a 14-time Major champion, will headline the US$6.1 million tournament which former ball boy Siddikur, one of the great success stories on the Asian Tour, has competed in since the event was inaugurated at the Mines Resort and Golf Club in 2010.
“I’m hoping to play one round with him. It doesn’t matter which round it is! It has always been a childhood dream of mine to play with Tiger Woods,” said Siddikur, who finished tied 11th in 2010 edition.
“When I was a beginner 14 or 15 years ago, I had a dream in my mind and that was to play with Tiger. I’m excited that it might come true this week,” he added.
Siddikur has come a long way since the days of playing golf with a makeshift seven iron head attached to an iron rod.
He became the first Bangladeshi to win on the Asian Tour when he won the Brunei Open two years ago and has featured in the top-10 of the Order of Merit in the past two seasons.
Currently 10th on the rankings, the straight-shooting Siddikur, who is adored by the golfing fraternity back home, aims to upstage the elite field this week after enjoying a week’s break to rest a sore back.
“I’m feeling much better. It was very painful during the third and fourth round of the Macau Open (two weeks ago). I felt a bit of pain earlier in the week but it feels much better now. I had to withdraw from India because I wasn’t feeling too good. I needed a lot of rest and I’m feeling better now,” said the 27-year-old Bangladeshi.
India’s Anirban Lahiri, who enjoyed a tied fifth finish in the Hero Indian Open last week, hopes to shine at the Mines Resort.
“I had an opportunity to play with a lot of these guys at The Open Championship (in July where he finished tied 31st). This is another week that I can test myself against a quality field. It is all preparation to the lead up at the end of the year,” said 25-yaer-old.
“I think it is a great event to play in and have the opportunity to play with the PGA Tour players. Tiger Woods is here as well and it is a chance to get more World Ranking points.”
Despite the PGA Tour producing two winners in the past two editions, Lahiri insists that the Asian Tour stars have a realistic chance of bagging the top prize of US$1.3 million on offer here.
“I think we have a great chance to win. We are used to the conditions in Malaysia where it is really hot. I think it is something that works in our advantage. The golf course is typically Malaysian grasses that we are used to playing on. I think it is a great opportunity for us to go out and win,” he said.
“Last week was a huge confidence booster for me. I’m feeling much more confident and upbeat, probably more than going into last week’s event. The form is starting to come back and it is a good time.”