New York: India's new golfing sensation Shubhankar Sharma was all fired up after attending a dinner hosted by Ernie Els, the captain for the 2019 Presidents Cup, and looked desperate to produce a fine show at the US Open, which tees off at the Shinnecock Hills here on Thursday.
Shubhankar had two sessions of practice at the course, which will be the battlefield this week.
"I was quite excited to attend the dinner hosted by Ernie Els. He has always been someone I have looked up and he was one of the stars who kindled my interest in golf way back in 2008 (in Delhi)," Shubhankar said.
"There would be nothing I would love more than to play on the team he leads at the Presidents Cup next year, added the Indian as he got ready for one final look at the course before the first round a day later.
While Shubhankar is the
focus of Indian and Asian fans, the world is waiting with bated breath to witness how Tiger Woods performs at his first US Open appearance since 2015.
The US Open is also the Major, where Woods won his 14th and last Major in 2008. It has now been 10 years since he won a Major and this latest comeback, which began with his own event, the Hero World Challenge in December last.
Since then Woods has had some good finishes including contending strongly at the Valspar Championship, where he was a close second.
Meanwhile, Shubhankar was among the whole lot of Internationals at the Els Dinner and he admitted he loved every minute of it.
Shubhankar and Anirban Lahiri are widely seen among contenders for a place on the Internationals team for the event next year in Melbourne.
This is one Major I have tried to qualify for in the past and failed to do so. So, it was very satisfying to do so this time. I had a good weekend at the Colonial (tied 20th) but was disappointed to miss the cut at the Memorial. In hindsight it made me more determined to do well at the US Open qualifiers in Columbus," said Shubhankar.
"With a berth to the Open (next month) already done and possibly the PGA later this year, this is indeed a big year and I want to make the most of it and get to the PGA Tour, added the 21-year-old, who hit the headlines with two great wins in Joburg and Malaysia.
"Talking of the course, Shubhankar said, I have heard and read a lot about this course and I know it is a tough test but I love such challenges and this is what pro golf is all about. I am looking forward to it and hopefully I will be able to make a mark on the weekend."