(CNN)To play with the weight of a nation on your shoulders is never easy.
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Jeev Milkha Singh (2007, 2008, 2009)
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"A lot of kids, a lot of my friends and a lot of people came up to me and said they woke up in the middle of the night just to watch me in Mexico," says Sharma.The experienced Phil Mickelson eventually went on to triumph, ending the longest drought of his professorial career, but not before mistaking his inexperienced rival for a member of the press. Sharma ultimately fell back to 10-under-par, tying for seventh position in what was his PGA Tour debut, but "Lefty" will certainly know all about him now. And he's not the only one. "Seeing players like Shubhankar come out and play so well has motivated a lot of kids to come out and pursue careers in golf," Shubhan Jaglan, a junior world champion from the Northern Indian state of Haryana, tells CNN."I want to see many more players on the PGA Tour, and I do see myself among them for sure!"READ: How Gary Player helped take the Masters globalIdols
Sharma's father, a former colonel, has been there every step of the way, once saying "every penny has gone into our passion.""Obviously with dad being in the army, discipline has been instilled in me since i was a kid," says Sharma, crediting his military background for his noted mental strength on the course. "Dad's had a big impact. He's been with me all along — and not only him, dad and mum both. I've learned so much and I am the person that I am today just because of them." Sharma's father once said his son's success could be a "Sachin Tendulkar moment" for Indian golf. And the player himself believes it's "absolutely possible" that India can become a force to be reckoned with in the decades to come, following in the footsteps of South Korea, a now dominant nation on the LPGA Tour."In any sport, you need idols," he says. "You need players who kids can look up to, so they can say: 'We have players from India that have done it, so nothing stops us from doing it.'