INVERNESS, Scotland -- Jeev Milkha Singh came close to missing the defense of his Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open title – and it had nothing to do with a finger injury that has troubled him since winning at Castle Stuart 12 months ago.
India's most successful golfer will be playing in Inverness this week while a movie about the life of his father Milkha Singh, an Olympic 400-meter runner from the 1960s, hits screens worldwide.
Singh said it was a "tough decision" to miss Friday's premiere of Bhaag Milkha Bhaag ("Run Milkha Run") in India, but was talked out of it by his family.
"(His father) said, `Son, you just go out there and keep doing your day job and just play well,'" Singh said Wednesday. "He said, `This is fine – it's a very emotional thing for the family but, you know, we want you to do this.'"
Milkha Singh, nicknamed the "Flying Sikh," remains one of India's most successful track athletes after narrowly missing out on a bronze medal at the 1960 Rome Games. He also went to the Tokyo Olympics four years later and won gold at the Commonwealth and Asian Games.
The Bollywood movie charts his journey from losing his family during India's partition in 1947 to becoming a top-level athlete.
"It's an inspirational movie," Singh said. "It's a movie about a person who has a struggle in life but he's still come out successful and made it.
"I've seen the movie and I personally feel that it's going to be one of the best movies India produces this year."
The 41-year-old Singh beat Francesco Molinari in a playoff to win the Scottish Open last year, despite playing with an injured index finger on his right hand for the final three rounds. The injury has hampered him ever since, causing him to drop back out of the top 100.
Singh is likely to have surgery after the Scottish Open – unless he successfully defends the title and qualifies for the British Open, just like last year.
"It's not 100 percent," he said. "It just hurts when I hit shots, but I've got to go with the flow and it's been a while."