Their friendship blossomed on the greens of the Delhi Golf Club, but irrespective of the setting, Shiv Kapur and Ashok Kumar make it a point to inject some freshness to the longstanding camaraderie.
By taking up adjacent bays at the driving range of the DLF Golf & Country Club, the aim was to fine-tune the hitting, but within no time peals of laughter rang through and the exercise took a backseat for a while.
Shifting the gaze to the left, it was a strain to pick Gaganjeet Bhullar in the distance, but by hitting balls from an awkward angle, the intent was clear. Out to make the most of a near-empty practice area, prior to the Avantha Masters, the sight of iron making the ball cut across the range soon became monotonous, but not for the 23-year-old.
“It is good practice trying to negotiate the wind,” he said. Like the outing on Monday, the driving skills have stayed with him, and proof is last week’s Philippine Open. Despite missing the cut, Bhullar can look back and remark, “I hit the ball well.”
But beyond that, he did “everything else but score”. A 36th spot at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge, an event he won last season, and a not-too-encouraging T45 in the Myanmar Open points to the putter going cold, and Bhullar is keen to address the issue. Making his way to the putting green, he admitted, “I need to work on the short game, it’s not as sharp as it used to be two years ago.”
Though without a coach, Bhullar is at peace with solitude. “Unlike on the PGA Tour, where pros play for 20-25 weeks, we in India are on the move for almost 30 weeks. While on tour, there is little a coach can do as any change takes at least a month of adjustment. Besides, it is the mind which is paramount.”
Playing out nine holes had him gushing on the lightening-quick greens but rather than set a target for the week, he stayed guarded. “The plan is to stay focussed.”
Jyoti to miss out
A $2.4 million tri-sanctioned event on home turf, there couldn't have been a better opportunity for Jyoti Randhawa to regain his European Tour card, but a broken right thumb has robbed him of the chance. Apparently, the injury occurred while skiing in Gulmarg last month.