The Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship is doubtless a major landmark in the career of young amateur golfers, but it is no different for their parents, too.
Nikhil Chopra, former India cricketer, and now a regular commentator on television would normally have been in Australia for the T20 World Cup of Cricket, but he chose to skip a week of cricket duty to be his son, Krishnav’s caddie this week at the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in Thailand.
“This is a big moment for him. The AAC is easily the best-known amateur event in Asia with a massive incentive for those winning it. Imagine playing for a spot in the Augusta Masters and The Open,” said Chopra.
“So, when Krishnav got an invite for this tournament (based on his World Amateur Golf Ranking) I knew where I was going to be that week.”
Nikhil did commentary duty for a match in Australia before coming here to Bangkok. He will return to Australia at the end of this week after’his son’s event on Sunday.
Krishnav is one of the seven Indians in the field for the tournament that gives the winner a spot at the Augusta Masters and The Open. The other Indians are Rayhan Thomas, Aryan Roopa Anand, Milind Soni, Arjun Gupta, Shaurya Bhattacharya and Shat Mishra.
Krishnav admits his father is his idol. So, he is thrilled to have him as the caddie this week. He said, “He’s here with me right now. He’s going to be caddying for me the rest of the week.”
The father-son love playing and hanging around a golf course together. “I mean, it’s a two-way thing. He’s going to be carrying the bag, and he’s going to help me with yardages and lines and just keep the normal banter we always have.”
Krishnav, who is now playing college golf at Long Beach State University, says he is learning a lot from his Dad. “For sure whatever he’s gone through at an early stage, whatever mistakes he’s made, he’s always looked out for that so that I don’t make those mistakes. He’s now a cricket commentator and he still loves to play golf.
“Even if we are travelling somewhere together, we always have golf bags. He likes to play, and he wants to take it up as a sport after retiring from cricket. I’ve learned a lot from him, whether it’s respect and mannerism even on the golf course or anywhere. It’s just that I look up to him a lot.”
Travelling long distances to play golf does not faze Krishnav, who said, “I played my first practice round today. Got into the driving range after a 25-hour flight from Los Angeles. The course is in pristine condition. It’s nice. The weather is not that bad. You just have to keep popping the liquid after every two or three holes.”
On the weather and the course, he added, “In India, it’s just a little more humid than this sometimes. It’s hot for everyone.”
“It’s playing to about 7,500. Fairways are a little soft. Mud balls in the morning. But other than that, it’s (17th) a beautiful hole, and the boat ride on 17 is something we have never experienced.”
So far, this has been a great year for Krishnav. “This year has been special. I played some golf over the start of the year. I won the AJGA in Texas. Played well in the Dustin Johnson (Invitational). I won my first amateur event in my home golf club (Delhi Golf Club), and I went through college golf, got into Long Beach State and played the first two, three tournaments over there. We finished first in the two tournaments over there, and in the last one, we came tied fifth. I played well as an individual, too. Came in top 15 in the first two tournaments.”
“It’s been a good summer and I’ve been working hard with my coach, Dana Dahlquist, in L.A. at Long Beach and in the gym.”
Once he is through with his golfing career, which has just about started, Krishnav would love to be a golf commentator, following in his father’s footsteps.
But, for now, he is soaking it in and enjoying the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship at Amata Spring Country Club. It may be hot and humid for some, but not for the younger Chopraa, who spells his name with an extra ‘a’. And, he is bursting with extra energy, too.