BY: Shiv Kapur
Getting ready for the US Open at Pinehurst this week, I cannot help recalling 2004 when I was standing at the range at Shinnecock Hills and waiting to see every few minutes if someone had dropped out. Then, I was still an amateur and the first reserve for the tournament after coming through two stages of qualifiers.
The buzz was David Duval or Jim Furyk might drop out but in the end showed up. Yet, it was a great experience and soaking in the atmosphere I wanted to be among them. Now is my chance at Pinehurst.
Since then I have turned pro and played on the Asian and European Tours and I have grown as a player. I have played the British Open twice, the second time being last year, where the highlight was seeing my name on the top of the leaderboard for a while on the front nine on the first day.
This time I played the US Open Qualifiers at Walton Heath and I came through as tied fifth and a total of 14 players made it from the venue. After getting through the qualifiers the next job was to ensure good accommodation near the course for the big week. We rented a house just three miles from the course and I have my Dad (Ravi Kapur), my coach James Gough, and a friend, Neeraj, who was with me on the bag back in 2004. We have had some BBQ evenings with steaks and sausages and it’s been fun and relaxing.
We reached Pinehurst on Sunday and played nine holes as practice. On Tuesday, it was with my Asian Tour colleagues — Liang Wen-chong and Thongchai Jaidee on Tuesday. For the first two rounds, I am paired with China’s Liang Wen-chong and Germany’s Max Kieffer.
The US Open has the reputation of being the toughest major. And I am just a few hours away from teeing off in it.