Richer in experience,Indian golfer Shiv Kapur will not feel like a ‘kid in a candy store’ when he makes his second appearance at The Open Championship,starting here on Thursday. Kapur,who is a winner on the Asian Tour,qualified for the year’s third Major championship at the Local Final Qualifying (LFQ) event in Dunbar,Scotland two weeks ago. His first appearance at The Open Championship was in 2006 and he still has vivid recollection of his Major debut despite missing the halfway cut by one shot.
“It was the most incredible week of my life. I was like a kid in a candy store and just soaked up the whole experience. Playing that year made me realise why there is such a hype surrounding the majors and it lived up to every moment,” said Kapur. He will be the only Indian in the elite field which includes defending champion Ernie Els of South Africa,world number one Tiger Woods and Asian honorary members K J Choi and Y E Yang of Korea. Thai trio Thongchai Jaidee,Thaworn Wiratchant and current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader Kiradech Aphibarnrat will also feature at Muirfield.
The 31-year-old Kapur reckons he will need to put on his thinking cap to negotiate his way around the unfamiliarity of playing links golf. “Playing links golf is a whole new challenge because it requires a lot of creativity and imagination. Most of the time yardages don’t mean much because you need to be able to control your flight and spin of the golf ball. “I’m practising shots that you don’t usually encounter on most weeks on tour and the golf course is much more demanding so mentally you have to be up for the challenge.
“I’m going to make a few changes to my equipment to better prepare for the wind and of course practice a bunch of shots around the greens to get used to the variable bounce of links greens,” he added. Kapur still holds high hopes despite playing in only his second Major tournament. “The goal is to play up to my potential and I feel if I can do that,I definitely won’t be there just completing the numbers. I’ll approach it like any other event and try to get into the mix.”