CHENNAI: A period of 112 years for the re-occurrence of anything is a long time. Even the Halley’s Comet — with an appearance cycle of 75-76 years — would possibly feel a bit dwarfed by that statistic. For those wondering what can take that long to repeat itself, the answer is: inclusion of golf at the Olympics after 1904.
Anirban Lahiri’s perspective on this, too, is in congruence with the magnitude of importance the celestial allusion was intended to underscore. “The Olympics is important. Win a medal there, and that will change everything as far as golf in India is concerned,” he stated on the sidelines of the announcement of the MRT1 Pro-Am tournament to be held on Saturday at Madras Gymkhana Golf Club.
“It’s still seven months away. In that time, I’m going to be playing in four Majors and three World Golf Championships. So, there’s a lot of events that require my attention. Having said that, I think I’ll start zoning in on the Olympics in June and July. Right now, I’m taking it one step at a time.”
For Lahiri, the last year — a splendid one — has been quite draining. He has made efficient use of his not-on-the-course time. “I’ve gotten back and worked on my fundamentals and fitness with Vijay Divecha (his mentor). Now, I feel completely refreshed. I took a holiday and did some rehab,” adding that the rehab was needed to alleviate knee-related issues. “I’m 100 per cent fit. I feel like I’ve put in a good amount of effort on my game during the off season.”
The boost in Lahiri’s fitness level and confidence is mirrored in his enthusiasm for the second edition of the Eurasia Cup. The 12-man Asian contingent for the event — slated for January 15-17 in Malaysia — will feature him along Shiv Chawrasia and Jeev Milkha Singh (captain the squad). “I’m feeling well prepared, and like I’m getting back to my best. I’m looking forward to Malaysia and playing for Jeev.”
Among all the points of inflection — good and bad — from his last year’s career-graph, Lahiri cherry-picked his fifth-spot finish at the PGA Championships — a first for the nation — and Presidents Cup outing as the ones that stood out.
The Open Championship
2012: Tied 31st, 2014: Missed half-way cut, 2015: Tied 30th.
2015: Tied 49th.
2015: Missed half-way cut
2014: Missed half-way cut.
2015: Tied 5th
“It (Presidents Cup) was a very disappointing event for me, personally. I played some of my worst golf of 2015 that week, unfortunately. On the other hand, being fifth at the PGA Championships was a huge confidence booster. I’ve always believed and felt I can compete. But, only evidence bolsters the thought. It’s been good for Indian golf as well. A lot of kids I speak to are inspired by it.”
Lahiri attributes a major chunk of his success to wife Ipsa, remarking her presence keeps him stable on and off the green. “Off course, things have eased out because of her. She’s been by my side for six-and-a-half years. I’m happy to have her.”