Not since his breakthrough win on the Asian Tour in his rookie season, even before that, Shiv Kapur had the belief that he belonged to the big stage.
The faith was buttressed as he ended an 11-year wait on Sunday, winning by two shots at the Yeangder Heritage in Miaoli, Chinese Taipei.
Expectations had soared since that win in 2005, but as reality set in, call it pressure or the struggle to “follow the process”, the conviction of fulfilling the promise stood shaken.
In fact, on a similar occasion some years ago back home, Shiv, trophy in hand, was asked a question that perhaps didn’t go with the moment.
Chirpy till a moment back, Shiv fell silent. Lowering the chubby face, he looked down, long and hard. Unable to find an answer, he looked up helplessly and with a shake of the head, replied, “Frankly, I can’t remember.”
It’s not been often in the recent past that he went into the final day with the chance to have a go at the title. Whenever the occasion arose in the past, it resulted in a futile attempt to play catch up.
At the National Golf Country Club on Sunday, Shiv acknowledged the lessons picked up along the way.
“After you haven’t won for so long, you might think that the best is behind you. When I first won, I was in my early 20s and the older guys were chasing me down. Now I’m the old guy (at 35)!
“It has been such a long wait and you tend to appreciate it more. You will have questions and doubts from yourself and others but I answered those more to myself than anybody else,” said Shiv.
It wasn’t said without a reason, especially after the frustrating happenings not long back. Last September, Shiv had to stay away from golf for a considerable patch due to liver surgery, and that was a cruel blow for the doughty sportsman as the desire to prove himself had got stronger after losing his playing rights on the European Tour.
But then “golf is not a sprint but a marathon”, as he would often say with a laugh, and the round on Sunday pointed to that as well. Shiv hadn’t finished a tournament the way he did in a while now. The eight-under-par 64 was studded with eight birdies – five of which came in his closing seven holes.
The monkey off his back, Shiv’s campaign will gather pace as he aspires for bigger objectives. But amid the euphoria, he stands proud of a fact that helped him traverse these difficult times --- the belief that “destiny was in his hands”.