CHENNAI: Staging a comeback is the toughest challenge that a professional career can throw at a sportsperson. Partly because the process of turning a new leaf involves going through old routines over and over again. Also because it becomes a test of patience, where rewards are not assured.
Shiv Kapur’s story has just crossed that turn. If missing his European Tour berth last year was not bad enough, surgery for a liver abscess last September sidelined him for three months. On the Asian Tour and struggling to make a mark in the first six events this year, the 35-year-old ended a long wait for a title in Chinese Taipei on Sunday.
Other than crediting family and friends, the Delhi golfer also revealed receiving support from peers, notable among them cricketers other than golfers. “Dean Jones told me recently over dinner in Sri Lanka ‘the day you realise how good you are, you’ll be back’. Sportsmen understand that to appreciate the highs, it’s important to accept the lows. Their words are a great lift when things are not going your way,” Kapur told Express on Monday.
A “huge cricket fan”, the Indian with the best record at US Open (tied 23rd, 2014) said he benefited also from talking to top golfers like Lee Westwood, but the names he mentions are mostly from 22 yards, who have a liking for the greens and fairways. “Mahela Jayawardene, Robin Uthappa, Ajay Jadeja, Kapil Dev, I’ve interacted with a few. Many have gone through the same experience. When you hit rock bottom, coming back is about mental fortitude. It’s nice to bounce these things off them,” said Kapur.
The sizzling last round of 8-under 64 at the Yeangder Heritage event (best of the tournament) that lifted him to 13th on the Asian Tour Order of Merit may also restart the process of climbing up the ranking table. In the 140s at the start of 2014, Kapur has jumped to 368 from 659 after his second Asian title, 12 years after the first. The participant in four Majors, who won an Asian Games individual gold in 2002 before turning pro, is eager to be back among the elite.
“It was a dream to play the Olympics, but I missed the chance last year. I’m determined to make it in 2020. I’m off to Thailand in two weeks, US Open qualifiers after that. I can’t control rankings, but can control what I do. I’ll keep believing in the old cliché of taking it one shot at a time.” So far, it has worked for him.