Bengaluru: After breaking into the top-40 last year, there has been no looking back for Anirban Lahiri. The reigning Asian Tour number one, has since then charted paths where no Indian has stepped foot. Breaking down barriers, and changing the face of golf in the country, Lahiri has taken the golfing world by storm and there’s no stopping him.
The Bengaluru golfer who is playing his rookie season on the PGA Tour is all set to shift his focus to the upcoming Majors and the Rio Olympics. With the 28-year-old set to make his second US Open appearance this month, followed by the PGA Championship next month, Lahiri is keyed up to put on a dominant show to make India’s presence in the golfing world an even stronger one.
Lahiri, who has had fine starts throughout the season has failed to carry forward the moment to notch up good finishes. “It’s been inconsistent unfortunately but I feel like it’s a matter of getting comfortable out here and that is happening now over a period of time. Patience is the key. I’m working hard on my game and I’m sure the results will show soon,” said Lahiri in an exclusive interview to this newspaper.
“Yes. It’s been a slow season to say the least. It’s tough competing at the highest level and you have to be on top of your game to contend. I feel like my best golf is in front of me and around the corner,” said the 28-year-old.
Having notched up his first top-10 finish on the tour, finishing sixth at the Dean & Deluca Invitational golf tournament, just a few weeks before the US Open will definitely boost the golfer’s show in the upcoming tournament.
The US Open is the only Major where Lahiri has failed to make the cut. “It’s a good time to come into some form going into the Major season. Hopefully, I can snowball the confidence from last week into more good finishes and hopefully a win.”
Moreover, Lahiri would want to put his best foot forward as he hopes for a fine finish at next month’s PGA Championship, where he had pulled off a best-ever finish by an Indian, ending tied fifth.
“I am certainly looking forward to the PGA. In fact the focus is on the remaining majors. Last year’s performance was definitely a huge boost to my confidence and self belief. I have become more and more comfortable with every passing major and that is the first step in performing consistently in them.
“My expectations are the same; to give 101% every time I tee it up in competition. My target has been to improve the quality of my game and condition myself physically and mentally to peak during the majors. I have played the US Open course and the PGA Championship course already to have an idea of what is to come and to prepare for the conditions more specifically,” said the Arjuna awardee, who is currently ranked 56th in the world.
Following the Majors, the focus will shift to the Rio Olympics, and the tenacious Indian is all geared up to bring home a medal from the quadrennial event.
“I think the focus will shift to Rio immediately after the major season. I have been getting information on the course and likely conditions and what I have heard has been positive. I am certainly looking forward to a great Olympic outing for India and hopefully we can come back with a medal.
“I am very happy to see SSP (Chawrasia) playing well. It will be great to have a good friend and a fierce competitor out there with me fighting for glory for our nation,” signed off the fierce competitor, but a smiling one at that.
On his experience playing on the PGA Tour:
Playing out here the biggest difference is the depth of the field. There are more players here than any tour who could win any given week. Also learning to play in new conditions and surfaces has been a big learning curve. Ultimately regardless of where you play, you have to stick to playing your game and improving all the time.
Playing here has taught me a lot. There is no substitute for experience and I have certainly absorbed a lot over the last year and a half or so. I have adapted my technique and equipment to better suit the style of American courses as well.
On his future plans:
I intend on playing out the season in America and returning in the winter to India. The schedule is still fluid but I’m unlikely to return before November.