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

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Chuah Choo Chi­ang

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

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