CHENNAI: Sports can take performers on a crazy ride. Down with a lack of form and a liver abscess that needed surgery and put a question mark over his career last year, Shiv Kapur is back in the thick of things. A title on the Asian Tour in April was followed by a tied-second finish last week. With ranking points and confidence in bag, the golfer is off to England on Friday for US Open qualifiers.
The New Delhi pro has fond memories of the tournament proper and the venue of the qualifiers. Although he missed the cut in 2015, his tied 23rd in 2014 remains India’s best in the second Major of the year. On both occasions, he had qualified from Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, where this year’s qualification event takes place on May 29. Having played the last of his three Majors in 2015 and lost his card on the European Tour, Kapur is eager to be back among the elite
“Majors are obviously the most important tournaments. To be there and play with the best, to see your name on the leader-board… these are moments that we play golf for. And that’s what keeps me going. I want to play in all four. Hopefully, my good form continues. Mentally and physically, I’m in good shape. I get the weekend there to acclimatise,” Kapur told Express from New Delhi on Tuesday.
World No 143 at the start of 2014, Kapur found himself at 718 exactly three years later. Success in Singapore and last week’s second place in Thailand have lifted him to 292, which makes him fourth among Indians. The first-round joint leader at the 2013 British Open — where he eventually slipped to tied 73rd — has to adjust to conditions. Although familiar with European courses, the last few months have seen him play in Asia.
“The last two months I’ve played in hot and humid conditions. That might cause a bit of a problem. I’ll get a couple of days to get used to the course and weather. That gives me time to prepare. Otherwise, I’m feeling good with my game. It was good to have done well in Thailand, where I was carrying expectations. So my confidence is high,” said the 2002 Asian Games gold medallist, who fired eight-under in the last rounds of his last two events.