It is all about the feel for Shamim Khan.
With time, the ears have come to recognise the sound of ball striking the 'sweet spot' (of the putter) and rolling on. "When that happens, one knows it's a good putt," he says.
The 'deck' of the DLF Golf & Country Club was still
filling up on Wednesday when Shamim entered to take his place at the far end. The eyes settled on the extreme left corner, which bore his name tag, and he started to move but stopped short. The unoccupied chairs behind the head table gave him an uneasy feeling.
The preference to stay in the shadows had him melt into the crowd, and once a part of it, he seemed to relax. It was a while before the other players arrived and Shamim got a chance to address the gathering on the eve of the DLF Masters, but the wait meant little. The satisfaction of being a part of the pack played on the face.
Off to Singapore on Sunday night for the $6 million Barclays Singapore Open, an honour that has come with his status as the Order of Merit leader on the Professional Golf Tour of India, Shamim will be relying on his renewed equation with the putter, this week and the ones after that.
Most often than not, they are taken as given, but missing short putts (three-four feet) has been a flaw for long. In fact, it had troubled him no end during the last trip to Singapore two years ago for the European Tour's marquee event.
Shamim started to look for help but the numerous visits to coaches left him numbed. Breaking through the maze of technical jargon, he approached senior pro Amandeep Johl earlier this month.
The chemistry between the two, brought about by the years of teeing off together, had an immediate effect. The BILT Open catapulted Shamim to the top of the chart and since that win three weeks ago, the words of his late coach, Santosh Kumar, have stayed on. "You (Shamim) are at your best when the feel's with you.”