Indian golfer Shiv Kapur believes he is more prepared for his British Open golf championship challenge after receiving valuable advice from six-time Major champion Sir Nick Faldo.
Kapur, the only Indian in the elite field, was in the company of Faldo, who won two of his three Open titles at Muirfield, when they played a nine hole practice round on Monday.
“He knows the course very well and I tried to pick his brain on how to play in the wind and he was quite helpful and gave me some useful advice. We played nine holes and it was a cool experience. I really received some good words of wisdom,” said Kapur.
“He told me to keep my arms and hands soft when playing in the wind. We also studied the approach shots into the greens and he said when you are on a links course you have to study what’s around the greens and not just on the greens.
“That’s something we are not accustomed to. We usually look at the yardage and hit our shots but these little things make a difference,” added the Indian, who will have Gregory Bourdy of France and Scott Jamieson of Scotland for company in the opening two rounds.
The 31-year-old reckons the experience of playing with Faldo, who is coming out of semi-retirement to play this week, will put him in good stead as he shoulders the sole Indian challenge at the year’s third Major championship.
“This is the first time I have played with him. It is obviously cool. He is arguably one of the greatest golfers of all time. It was a great experience,” he said.
“I think my chances of finishing as the best Indian are pretty good (jokes)! It is nice to have some Indian representation here. I think we got a really strong bunch of players at the moment and it won’t be long before we have three or four of us playing in the Majors.
“My family is here and I’m looking forward to the experience. I’m carrying the hopes of the nation so I have to live up to that billing,” said Kapur, who has won once on the Asian Tour.
Meanwhile, Tiger Woods may employ the no-driver strategy the American used to ease to a two-shot victory in the 2006 British Open at Hoylake as he attempts to end a five-year wait for a Major win at Muirfield this week.
Much like the Royal Liverpool links seven years ago, the venue for the 142nd British Open is bone dry and the players have been getting so much run on the ball in practice that it reduces the need to risk the longest club in the bag. The 14-time Major winner, who is confident he has recovered from the elbow strain that has kept him out of action since last month’s U.S. Open, smiled from ear to ear when asked about his feelings on the British Open.
“I love this championship. I just think it’s so neat to be able to play this type of golf,” the World No. 1 said.
“There are only certain places in the world in which we can.
“Here and, probably, the Australian sand belt courses are the only places where we can truly play links-type golf, bounce the ball up, shape shots and really be creative.”
Love, however, was definitely not in the air the last time he played at Muirfield when the Open was won by South African Ernie Els in 2002.
Woods slumped to an 81, the worst score of his professional career, as he battled against miserable cold and wet conditions in the third round.
Woods shrugged off the notion his confidence had been dented following his five-year stretch without a Major victory.