He, a practitioner of golf, and the other a keen onlooker, having tracked the former’s journey as a junior to an established pro, their chemistry is infectious. A fleeting glimpse is enough to trigger it off, and the two are ready to have a go.
The advancing years and strands of grey prompt Shiv Kapur to address him as “old man,” while the identical retort is prompted by the latter’s receding hairline. Neither means any offence but that’s their way of acknowledging the other’s presence.
It had been a fruitful opening round at the Gujarat Kensville Challenge for Shiv, so that heightened the prospect of friendly banter.
At five-under 67, a stroke short of Spaniard Agustin Domingo, who set a course record, the body was at ease when he emerged from the clubhouse after submitting Thursday’s card.
Standing nearby, the gentleman was among the first to notice Shiv’s emergence. Without waiting for the player to walk up to the group, he took a few steps himself with the usual greeting, “So, old man would you like to sit down?” Lips pursed, Shiv feigned annoyance. “No, I’d rather stand.”
A little over a month separating the day at the Kensville Golf and Country Club and the year-end triumph, which broke a prolonged title drought, it was normal for the talk to veer towards the Shubhkamna Champions.
“It’s always good to get the monkey off the back.” Saying so, he looked sideways. With a twinkle in the eye, Shiv continued, “One is bigger than the other.” The remark was directed at his friend’s prosperous appearance. For a change, it did not evoke a reaction, the gentleman choosing to take it with a straight face.
That also brought an end to the exchange between the two as Shiv went about summing up the day. It wasn’t as if he struggled with the putter, but talking about the missed putts did make him fidgety.
Pulling at the loose strands of skin on the rough palms, he said, “I rolled the ball really well, it’s just that they (putts) did not come off.”
Hitting the ball close, his longest birdie putt was from a mere six feet, was a relief and he stayed thankful that some of those misses did not translate into a dropped shot.