It hadn’t been long since his breakthrough win on the Asian Tour when Shiv Kapur turned up at the Royal Liverpool Golf Club for the 2006 Open Championship. He was obviously on a high after tasting success so soon in his pro career, but on arrival at the Major venue it became a fanboy experience.
From watching Ernie Els at the driving range to Tiger Woods landing in a chopper and heading straight to practice, Shiv got a lot to soak in which was to help later on. But for the missed birdie chance on the 18th, Shiv would have made cut and that would have been as memorable an experience for his father too to watch the son make the weekend of a Major in his first appearance.
That privilege had to wait for seven years and at another venue, but in 2006 Shiv walked off the 18th green with “nothing but positive energy”. “I realised my game was there and I could compete if I worked hard,” said Shiv. Though he had to endure a long wait before his next Major, Shiv had a dream start to the 2013 edition at the Muirfield Golf Links.
He did serious damage on the course soon after tee off. Six-under after eight holes and his name atop the leaderboard for a while, even ahead of current World No 1 Dustin Johnson, it was akin to the days when he would engage in a putting competition with friends at the Delhi Golf Club and “win The Open”.
That purple patch got the R&A to dedicate a chapter on Shiv in that year’s official book ‘Nine Holes Of My Life’. There was more. Not known to him then, ESPN America made an anouncement that they were extending the coverage time on account of his prolific run.
Shiv eventually finished three-under on Day 1 but the dream run continued as he was whisked away to the media centre for interviews. The bombardment of messages led to his phone crashing temporarily, but not before he got to kmow from a friend in the US on ESPN’s gesture.
Despite the slip, Shiv made cut and though the finish was not what he would have liked, the memories from that week still rank right up there.
Four years on, when Shiv made his third appearance at The Open, for which he considers himself lucky, there had been a major shift. From a prolonged run in search of his second win on the Asian Tour after 2005, Shiv landed at the Royal Birkdale Golf Course with the collar up. In April, that wait had ended with the win at Yeangder Heritage, and the outlook was of one fresh from a triumph.
Shiv won the qualifier at the nearby Dunbar Golf Club and had members from there turn up and root for him at Birkdale, and that stands out amid the mayhem on the golf course. Shiv played his heart out but the effects of the howling wind and rain were overpowering and he missed out by a shot.
“You get the good and bad end of it,” said Shiv as he awaits his next appearance at The Open, for this is where his heart lies.
Photo credit: Shiv Kapur