Tuesday preview: What they said #HIO2018

Tue 06 Mar 2018

Tuesday preview: What they said #HIO2018


Shiv Kapur (Ind)

To me, this is the most important tournament outside the Majors. Winning their National Open is the highlight of anyone’s career. And, to be able to do it in a city where I grew up, with a title sponsor and golf club that has supported me in my career will be very special.

Winning in India last year and getting the monkey off my back is nice. Now, I can free-wheel a bit more rather than having this pressure of not having won a tournament for a long time.

My form is pretty good. I managed to put myself in Singapore and Malaysia, but I didn’t get the job done over the weekend. I’m glad to be able to ride on the momentum of winning three times in 2017 into 2018. You have to keep expectations in check. My goal this year is to try to be a better golfer in 2018 compared to last year. If I feel that I’m improving my game and contending regularly, my goals are achieved even if I have no wins.

It’s a tough golf course here, but it’s not unfair. Some of the changes here (compared to last year) has actually made it easier when it comes to decision making. For instance, at the 15th, this year, we won’t be able to aim for the green. We will all be laying up at the same spot. Similarly, at the 17th, lengthening means you can’t aim to hit your ball to the other side of the fairway. Lengthening a golf course doesn’t always make it harder.

After the birth of my daughter, my outlook on life has changed. Golf used to be my life. Now, it is part of my life. I would have driven straight to the club this morning after attending a wedding, but I opted to head home, just to see my daughter and then drive to the club. I practice more efficiently these days. And after seeing my daughter smile, it doesn’t matter if I had a bad day.

I’m going to play more attacking this year, compared to last year. You tend to be defensive when you think that it is a tough golf course. If you attack the golf course, you may get a few bogeys, but you may get some birdies as well. If you play defensively, you hit a bunch of pars and if a big number hits you, it’ll be hard to recover.

The field is fantastic. It’s good to see Indians being mentioned as contenders. There are plenty of young talents here as well. The international field is very strong as well, so the Indians will find it difficult to keep “retain” the title.

The way Shubhankar (Shankar) handles himself, even when things aren’t going his way, is well beyond his years. His game is very well rounded and he has the temperament to back it up. His 62 in Malaysia is one of the best final rounds in history. The world is at his feet.

Chikkarangappa S. of India

Chikkarangappa S. (Ind)

Of course, winning at home will always be special. The Indian Open means a lot to me and I’m sure for all the Indian players as well, as it is our National Open. It is our dream to have an Indian Open win under our belt and it will be a very proud moment for me if I can get my first Asian Tour win here at the Hero Indian Open.

I have watched this tournament as a junior golfer. I’ve seen this tournament since I was a 12-year-old kid and since then, I’ve always dreamt of playing in the tournament. Fortunately, I had the opportunity three years later when I was 15 years old. Since then, I have played in almost every single Indian Open. The experience has been great. I’ve learned a lot about my game and it has helped me move ahead in my career.

The course is one of the toughest I have played in my career. Anything, it could be your tee shot or wedge play, has to be absolutely 100 per cent. If you miss your shots, you will be punished. This week is going to be really tough for every single player out there.

I love golf courses like these. It suits my game. It’s funky, requires tricky shots. It brings about plenty of positivity. Length-wise, sure, it’s pretty long, but I’ll just have to manage it.

Poom Saksansin of Thailand

Poom Saksansin (Tha)

I am here in India after a 19-hour journey from New Zealand. But, I’m good to go. In fact, I feel reinvigorated mentally.

The golf course here has an engaging layout but is also very challenging. I’m sure not sure what will happen here. I don’t hit long, so I cannot play aggressively. Perhaps, this approach will help me score well at the Hero Indian Open.

Right now, I’m still tweaking my swing. I’m also looking to rediscover myself at this tournament.

Jason Norris (Rsa)

I’m quite happy with how I’ve started the year. I’m just looking forward to the rest of the season. A win or two, starting with the Hero Indian Open, will be nice.

The course here is designed by my fellow countryman Gary Player. It has a modern design, it is interesting and it has a good layout. I’m looking forward to playing on it. The course has plenty of risk-and-reward elements and it all depends on what your game plan is. I’ll try to figure out something that works and stick to the plan.

I’ll approach the tournament like any other tournaments. I’ve been hitting the ball quite well, so, I’ll try to trust myself and have a bit of fun out there.

Andrew Johnston of England

Andrew Johnston (Eng)

It’s been a bit of a frustrating couple of weeks. I had a lesson the first week I was home, I was trying to gear up to practice last week so I haven’t really done too much. I’ve spent a bit of time in the gym, so I’ve been looking forward to getting back out in the sun, getting some practice done in the sun this afternoon and tomorrow to get ready for this week.

The last four or five years have been crazy. To start off at the little golf course I played when I was a kid, and to have ended up playing Majors, playing European Tour and a bit on the PGA Tour as well, it has been absolutely crazy. Every time I step on the tee and people are shouting “Beeeef”, it still amazes me, because I would never have expected something like that to happen. It’s been insane.

Definitely, I am trying to win a tournament again. Obviously, I want to be in the top 60 to play in the final Race to Dubai tournaments. I played well at the start of the year so I’ve just got to keep that going and keep working hard, because I’ve played really well the first couple of months.

Chris Wood (Eng)

It’s my first time in India. It’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to come to. I arrived late last night and my first experience this morning coming to the course was turning into the oncoming traffic, which we don’t do at home. That will be something that I will get used to this week.

Obviously, there are some strong players here this week. We’ve got the Ryder Cup captain playing and we’ve got my Ryder Cup captain, Darren Clarke, from when I played a couple of years ago. There's also Joost Luiten, who beat me in Oman. Obviously, your new homegrown hero (Shubhankar Sharma), which is great for the tournament. He’s had a great start to the year and featured a lot last week in Mexico, so it’s great for the tournament for him to be coming straight back and playing here.