HIO Preview What They Said

Tue 05 Nov 2013

HIO Preview What They Said

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Michael Thompson (USA)
The courses that we play back in the States are big and long. A lot of drivers and four-irons on the par fours whereas here it is a three-iron, eight and nine-iron. It is going to be fun and challenging. I love tree line golf courses. It is going to be a fun experience and being part of a 50-year-old golf tournament. It is a real honour to be here.
I hope I can follow in Payne Stewart’s footsteps (won the 1981 Indian Open). I got the chance of meeting him when I was eight or seven years old and remember getting his autograph. To be here and playing on the same golf course where he tasted success is a great honour. I hope that I can go out and perform to the best of my abilities and beat a really strong field.
Playing professional golf can be a grind with the traveling and practice. Don’t get me wrong, it is all great and I love being a professional golfer.
Shiv Kapur (Ind)
It was a tiring week. It was mentally exhausting but it was satisfying to win. Winning in the end is satisfying. I was quite tired after all of that but I’m coming into this week with a lot of confidence. I just need to get my energy levels back.
Every year I sit here and keeping telling all of you that it is always my dream to win the Indian Open. It is the fifth Major for all of us and I would love to win it, more so because it is held at the Delhi Golf Club.
Obviously the Indian Open being in its 50th year makes it more special. The fact that I’m coming into this week with a little bit of form will help my chances. It will mean a lot more than winning last week.
I think it was back in 2000 when I won the low amateur and I came close last year. I had a few chances. Most of the time I’ve been coming from behind and trying to close the gap. Hopefully this time around I can get off and running early so I’m not trying to make up the deficit. All that is left out on the golf course. I would like to win this. It is not my last chance at winning it but I would say that it is my best chance at winning. I know I got a few more years trying to win the Indian Open but it is not often that you coming into a week, feeling that you are playing closed to your best. That’s the number one positive going into the week.
Obviously winning is why you play the sport. It is satisfying to win but you get weeks when you are playing really well and not win. You have to have a fair share of luck to win. I had a couple of good breaks go my way so hopefully it is a sign of good things to come.
Winning last week is the freshest highlight so far this season but leading at The Open was a high point in the year. Hopefully I can sit in front of you guys and say that winning the Hero Indian Open is the highlight of my year!
I’d like to think that I’ve learnt a lot. I’m a bit more patient on the golf course now. I used to get hot under the collar or agitated when I make mistakes but I think I handled it better this year. I’m more patient and I got better at accepting my bad breaks.
It was magical. Qualifying for The Open was a great thing. I was satisfied when I did that. The first time I played at The Open I felt like a kid in a candy store. This time around, I had greater appreciation for what it was. I played with most of the top players in the world and I know that I can beat them if I played my best. The first two or three hours of The Open was magical. As a kid, you grow up seeing your name on the iconic leaderboard. When it happened, it was a dream come true and I was looking on every hole. I went to America after The Open and people walked up to me and said ‘Hey, you are The Open guy!’
I’m trying to improve on my short game because that’s the scoring zone. From tee to green I’m up there with the best. I’ve been losing ground in my short game. Hopefully I can keep that mojo working.
Panuphol Pittayarat (Tha)
I finished third last year but it was on a different course. It was a great finish, I bogeyed the last and missed the playoff but it was a good result and I got a lot of cash there. I’m playing better now. I’m striking the ball better but I need to hole a lot more putts. First of all, congratulations for keep this event for so long. It is a great tournament so I hope I can come back and play every year. No, I don’t have a driver this week. The driver is sitting in the hotel. I’m committed to that. If I’m angry then I won’t smash my driver! This is my sixth time playing at the Delhi Golf Club. I’m probably feeling the most confidence playing here for the first time.
Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand Panuphol Pittayarat of Thailand
Anirban Lahiri (Ind)
It is nice to be back. It is a little bit different how it was earlier in the year. It was a quiet Diwali for me this year but it was a good celebration for India as a whole because Shiv (Kapur) got his card in Europe. Congratulations to him because he has been playing great.
Coming into this week, I think the whole bunch of us is looking strong to keep the Indian Open title at home. Muniyappa won the Hero Indian Open in 2009 and since then, no Indian has won it so it will be nice to break that run and keep the title at home.
Diwali has just past us and is behind us but it is a very special time of the year. It is a time when the family comes together. If I had to compare Christmas to an Indian festival, it would be Diwali. Probably with a little bit more light and laughter. It is a very special time of the year and everybody comes together as a family. It is a good time of the year for us to be playing golf because everyone is happy and in a chirpy mood.
I would be glad to do whatever Hero likes me to do. It is a privilege and honour to be supported by them over the last few years. We’d like to really bring the title home for Hero this week.
Over the years the advantage of playing at Delhi Golf Club has eroded. We have been playing at Delhi Golf Club so often now. When that happens, whether you are Indian or not, you are playing here at least six or nine times in two or three years. It is a level playing field now. For me, I only play on this golf course in the Asian Tour events.
Those who have been playing here for decades like the senior Indian golfers, I think it is a big advantage. Strategy and accuracy are probably the main areas that you need to be on top of.
Jonathan Moore (Usa)
I haven’t had the best year so far. This week is a good week. Really all the events coming down the stretch have good prize money so I feel like any week is a good week to save my card. You just need that one week to get a good finish.
Jbe Kruger and I was joking that the Delhi Golf Club is almost like the Asian Tour’s home course! You sort of know your way around here because we play here quite often.
I remember playing here for the first time in 2011. I spent 24 straight days in India during that time because I didn’t have a visa that would allow me to leave the country. That was quite an experience in a fun way! Now I always look forward to coming back to India.
I went to the Taj Mahal during that time. I had some people help us out, take us to another golf course to practice. I just relaxed, got sick a couple of times so it was really an experience!
The Delhi Golf Club is unique. I have never played another golf course where guys are taking the drivers out of the golf bag. I’m taking out my driver this week too. I have a three wood that would do the job.
It is exciting. I think this is the longest running golfing event in India. That just shows how much they love their golf. I think this venue is fitting for the golden anniversary.
Jbe Kruger (Rsa)
Jbe Kruger of South Africa Jbe Kruger of South Africa
It would be the first time ever my driver will be out of the golf bag. It is almost like I’m coming home! We’ve played this course so often on the Asian Tour so it is pretty cool.
It is always nice to come back to the country where you won your first title. I like the food here. India is a good place to play golf.
My game wasn’t great earlier in the year. But I’ve been swinging better and it is almost coming together.
Without sponsors, we as a Tour won’t grow. I think as professional golfers we won’t have a job! We would like to say ‘thank you’ as much as we can to Hero. We can’t really thank the sponsors enough. I know they get a lot out of these events but if there weren’t sponsors we won’t have a job.
Test wise, the Delhi Golf Club is probably the best I’ve played. It is really tight off the tees and you have to hit it really straight. You don’t really find this anywhere else in the world. Most of the golf course is punishing but like DGC. If you hit it in the bush then you are heading back to the tee.
Robert Rock (Eng)
I watched this tournament on television a few years ago and I thought the course looked pretty good. It suits my style because it is more tree lined and not necessarily the longest. We play a lot of courses which are really long and it can get a bit boring.
It was poor at the start and middle of the year. It was poor towards the end but it started to improve. The last few weeks have been good.
I’ve made some changes that made my game worst and made a couple that made it better. I spent a lot of time working on my short game and that got in the way of maintaining the other parts of my game. I experimented a bit with putting and battled with that for a little while. Now the game is in good shape.
I tried pretty much everything that I could think of to improve my mid-range putting. I wasn’t holing enough putts. I tried a few things, changed different putters. I made more different approach in my putting. I had some success but not enough. Now I’ve simplified the lot to make the putting a little bit easier.
There are not many events that last as long as the Indian Open! We seem to be losing tournaments. There are a lot of tournaments losing their identities and moving to places that don’t suit. I’m happy with this event as it celebrates its 50 years and it staged on traditional courses. I think that should happen to maintain the tradition of the tournament.