Kunal Nayyar from Big Bang Theory
n many of us, Kunal Nayyar is a more frequent guest than our closest relatives. Every week Pro Seven runs 55 episodes of his sitcom “The Big Bang Theory”, in which the British Indian actor plays the astrophysicist Rajesh Koothrappali. When I tell him about it in a London hotel, where he and some of his sitcom colleagues are promoting the eleventh season of “The Big Bang Theory”, his eyes almost fall out of his head: “Are you serious? How is that possible?” But when he gets his bearings again, he starts beaming: “So this means I’m a legend in Germany!”
Of course, it’s not quite that far, although there are good reasons to call the 36-year-old a legend. Because unlike his sitcom character, who can only talk to women with the help of alcohol, the charming sonny boy has a real knack for women. Since 2011, he has been married to Neha Kapur, a former Miss India – although the first pickup line went right down the drain. “I told her I was an actor – from ‘The Big Bang Theory’. Her dry answer: “I’ve never heard that before. Is this a porno?” But even more envious than his attractive and obviously very humorous wife is his golf handicap. Rajesh Koothrappali can’t even handle a basketball in the series, but Kunal Nayyar knows pretty much how to swing a golf club. At the Lakeside Golf Club in California, he’s led with a handicap of 7.2.
I notice how he has become so good after only a few minutes. Because the son of a family from the Punjab lives golf. Actually, we came together to talk about his series. It’s a pure coincidence that on the day of my interview with Kunal I’m wearing a T-shirt that I brought back from my last golf trip to the American West Coast. This does not remain hidden from my interviewer either: “Pasatiempo Golf Club, where is that? Near Cabo San Lucas in Mexico?”, he asks curiously. When I inform him that the course designed by Augusta National Designer Alister MacKenzie is located near San Francisco, he is already mentally planning his next flying visit.
After all, he passes it at least once a year: on his way to the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. Since 2015, Nayyar (pronounced: Näjer) has been participating in the biggest event for celebrity golfers. He has not yet entered the sphere of Bill Murray, who can more or less choose the professional at his side, but Kunal is well on his way there. In 2016, Nayyar played with Journeyman Hunter Stewart, and this year he was teeing with four-time PGA Tour winner Brian Gay. Not the only reason why he found the 2017 experience more enjoyable.
GOLF IS LIKE THE GIRL OF YOUR DREAMS THAT YOU CHASE AFTER ALL YOUR LIFE. EVERY NOW AND THEN SHE GIVES YOU A KISS OR LETS YOU LOOK DOWN HER BLOUSE.
“This year it was better in Pebble Beach because I didn’t hurt anyone. Last year I hit a socket with a lob wedge and hit a spectator right under the eye.” After the initial shock, everything was okay, as the big-bang theorist remembers. “The man hadn’t gotten much. “And when he found out who shot him down, he was really excited. We’re his favorite show and I gave him tickets to one of our recordings.” A move he obviously copied from the professional golfers at his side. They usually give their victims a signed glove, which they get for free from their sponsors. And tickets for a recording of the hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory” are coveted but don’t cost a dime.
Not that he couldn’t afford it: Nayyar earns more a year than the top three on the PGA Tour combined (!) last season. Dustin Johnson, Jason Day and Adam Scott together made 23.88 million dollars. Nayyar has been earning a million dollars with every episode of his series since 2016. With 24 episodes a year enough to leave the trio behind.
But all the money in the world can’t make it to Sunday at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am. “It’s really hard to make the cut,” muses Nayyar, quoting almost word for word his fellow sitcom star Ray Romano, who was in tears in the Scorer tent in 2005 when he learned he missed the cut in the jump-off. It wasn’t until 2012 on his twelfth attempt that the “Everybody loves Raymond” star made it. Something that Kunal Nayyar also sees as his big goal, which is why he wants to compete every year if time allows. After all, for him it is “Disneyland for adults”.
His rapidly declining handicap also shows that time for golf can’t be that bad. After all, he only reached 2