Southport, July 21, 2017: The experience of missing the cut leaves a scar. And when you suffer the fate at an Open Championship, ravaged by wind and rain, it can be a traumatising experience. Anirban Lahiri and Shiv Kapur endured a gruelling test at the Royal Birkdale Golf Club to miss out by an agonisingly close margin. The two Indian golfers scored 73-73 in the first two rounds for a six over total 146. The knife sliced the field at 145.
As they walked off the field at the 18th their agony at not being able to stay with the field was all too palpable even through the grey air that surrounded this iconic venue.
Golfers have an elephantine memory of the clubs they pick, yardages and their relationship with the fluttering flag on the greens. Both Anirban and Shiv will sit in the privacy of their warm homes and wonder what may have been, if only they played one way instead of another.
As it is, they chose not to dig around for excuses. “I played good golf this week,” said Shiv. “The birdie at the 16th gave me renewed hope, but the damage was really done when I conceded bogeys at the 11, 12 & 13.”
“I played as hard as I can. On this course, we are constantly battling the elements and just trying to eliminate mistakes. One bad hole is really the difference between being in contention and missing the cut,” added Shiv, as he reflected back on that seventh hole in the first round. Shiv had taken a six on the par-3 there, constantly fighting back from there to repair his card.
Anirban was gutted, eyes moist from the treachery of missing the cut through a bogey at the final hole. “I am deeply disappointed,” said Anirban in a matter of fact tone, the grief too obvious in his eyes and voice.
There will be more majors, I suggested. “I do not want to take that path,” he insisted. “There are too many that have gone past. This was my first major of the season and I expected better from myself.
“Once again, I have let myself down around the greens.” Anirban made 72% greens in regulation but took 34 putts to complete the job. He was only too aware of the unraveling of his fate.
“I look ahead to the PGA Championship and the rest of the season on the PGA TOUR. I will need some time to reflect on my performance this week and draw valuable lessons. I need to be performing better.”
India continues to search for its first ever major champion. But it would not be a major surprise if it is one of these two men that eventually do it for us on a bright and sunny day not too far into the future.