Notes from the Asian Tour
Losing form or confidence is all part and parcel of sports as many will attest. In our generation, the greatest tennis player of all time, Roger Federer, recently endured and overcame his inner demons with such grace and grit that it served only to furthe
India’s Shiv Kapur may not quite be the Roger Federer of golf but the 35-year-old certainly celebrated a great comeback story.
Every now and then, we are privileged and fortunate to witness great comeback stories in sports. Watching an athlete overcome adversity through determination, guts, skill and perseverance is often a thrill for those who follow sports and serves also as an inspiration to others who aspire to excel in the game.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, many of us are rooting for Tiger Woods, who was once the all mighty golfer who swept all before him but is now struggling to tee up following yet another surgery to ease pain in his now fragile back.
Twelve years ago, it seemed destined that Kapur would become a golfer very much in the mold of Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa and Arjun Atwal, who hold a combined 22 Asian Tour titles and five Order of Merit crowns.
As a 23-year-old, Kapur won the 2005 Volvo Masters of Asia, then the season-ending tournament on the Asian Tour in Bangkok and was subsequently named Rookie of the Year. With what looked like a technically sound golf game and a level head on his shoulders, many expected him to reel in multiple wins in Asia and beyond.
He did play his way onto the European Tour and attained some measure of success but the second big career victory always eluded him despite some close shaves. Two triumphs on the European Challenge Tour were scant consolation to a man who seemed to have it all at his feet.
Throughout the barren years, Kapur went down the route which most golfers are accustomed to do - he tinkered with his game in search of something better.
Being slightly built, he tried to add more distance in his drives to keep up with the long-hitters but in doing so, he sacrificed his trademark left-to-right shape shots which was often his go-to shot when under pressure.
With his form not striking hot, worse was to come for him as Kapur was stricken with sickness in 2016. Originally thought to be a viral fever, the Indian was eventually diagnosed with abscess in his liver, which required surgery last September. It laid him off for three months.
Lying in his hospital bed, he often fought with his demons and wondered if he had already missed the bus towards stardom. “It took a lot of time to heel,” he said at the start of 2017.
“Afterwards, the rehab process followed and as you spend a month on the bed, the body doesn’t feel the same. When you make a comeback after such a period, there is a lot of frustration and a lot of anxiety.”
His results in the first few months of the
2017 season was topsy-turvy to say the least, with a best of tied 12th in Malaysia followed by three consecutive missed cuts. But like all good comeback stories, Kapur finally enjoyed his day in the sun once again, some eleven years and four months to be exact after his maiden Asian Tour victory.
At the inaugural Yeangder Heritage in Chinese Taipei - an event which he initially did not enter - Kapur charged through the pack with a final round of eight-under-par 64 to lift his long-awaited second career title in Asia.
The relief and joy was there for all to see. “This win means a lot to me. It has been a frustrating last couple of years so it is nice to be back where I belong. There are so many good talents on the Asian Tour and it is getting harder to win each year. To win the way I did is just very satisfying,” he said.
“It has been such a long wait but you tend to appreciate it more. You will have questions and doubts from yourself and other people but I answered those questions more to myself than anybody else with this win. After you haven’t won for so long, you might think that the best is behind you.”
Shiv Kapur, take a bow and enjoy your return into the exclusive Asian Tour’s winner’s club. It’s been far too long but truly and well deserved.
At the inaugural Yeangder Heritage in Chinese
Taipei - an event which he initially did not enter – Shiv Kapur charged through the pack with a final round of eight-under-par 64 to lift his long-awaited second career title in Asia
It seemed destined that Kapur would become a golfer very much in the mold of Jeev Milkha Singh (as shown in the picture) et al., who hold a combined 22 Asian Tour titles and five Order of Merit crowns
Shiv Kapur hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during the first round of the 2015 U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay