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A Happy Anirban Lahiri Has Lots on His Plate But He is Not Complaining

PTI

Last Updated: March 16, 2022, 22:30 IST

Anirban Lahiri (Twitter)

Anirban Lahiri (Twitter)

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri won a career-best pay cheque of USD 2.18 million

A remarkable return to form that also brought with it a career-best pay cheque of USD 2.18 million, Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri has lots to celebrate but very little time as he also has lots on his plate to deal with.

For starters, his coach is recovering from a quadruple bypass, his own body is “beat up” after an exhausting week in challenging weather, and he is also awaiting the birth of his second child soon.

And in between all this, the 34-year-old is basking in the glory of a sole second finish at the PLAYERS Championship in Florida, a performance that brought him the attention of even cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar.

“It was a pleasant surprise and I got it barely 10 minutes before I came here. As a cricket follower, like many other Indians, I have been a great fan of Sachin, I have met him in the past,” Lahiri said in an online media interaction.

“When Tiger Woods came to India in 2014, it was around the same time as Sachin got his Bharat Ratna. We had gone for the dinner for Tiger and Sachin was in the same hotel.

“Later, he invited us, Shiv Kapur, Sharmila Nicollet and me, and we had a great time talking golf and cricket. He loves his golf and I know he follows golf, so it feels great,” recalled Lahiri after his career’s second runner-up finish.

Despite some huge upticks like getting back into Top-100, rising up the FedEx Cup standings and the prospects of earning a place on the International Team at the President’s Cup, Lahiri is clear on the road ahead.

Lahiri confessed that the week at TPC Sawgrass, with its incredibly tough conditions, has left him in a state where he feels he needs time to focus on getting back his energy before he gets back to action in a week or two.

“It was a great result, lot of positives. The game was good and it was great to talk to the family, friends. Was amazing to hear how many people stayed up to watch and cheer.

“It feels fantastic. It is not just the appreciation, but I can see the different in their voice and how much they enjoyed it.”

Lahiri was also relieved to hear from his coach and mentor Vijay Divecha.

“I have known him since almost childhood. He is a father figure for me. On February 2 after his birthday, he was fine and then a day later he had a heart attack. Four-five days later he had a quadruple bypass. So, it is nice to see him getting back,” he said.

About the conditions at the TPC Sawgrass in Florida, he said it was draining. “That week in TPC Sawgrass felt like a month. The body was beat up and I was so tired,” said Lahiri.

“That morning on Sunday when I teed, it was like -2 degrees Centigrade. In all my 20 years of playing pro golf I had not played in such weather with the wind, the cold, the rain and so on.”

He also revealed that on the final day, he carried with him a duffel bag with a lot of warm clothes.

“I tried out a lot of clothes to see how I could be warm with those layers also comfortable, so I tried a on lot of them.”

As he ruminated over “what could have been” after coming so close to the title, that is ranked only behind the four Majors, Lahiri said, “Right now my focus is to get back to 100 per cent and I need to recover fully, before I tee up again.

“So, going from here in terms of my schedule, I will be playing the Texas Open, a week before the Masters, so that will be my last chance to get into the Masters. Texas, it will be RBC, Mexico and Wells Fargo.”

Lahiri and his wife, Ipsa, are expecting their second baby. “After that schedule I will be on stand-by as we expect our second (baby).”

Asked if the impending arrival of his second baby will motivate him, Lahiri laughed and said, “Not really. It’s a bit of cliche. It’s life. So, after the baby’s arrival and planning, I will be back to golf and that’s what I do.”

Talking of the closing stages of the PLAYERS Championship, he said, “The last time I held a 54-hole lead was at the CIMB in 2016 and that second place at the Memorial later was when I had my back to the wall. This time I was the last guy on the course.

“I did not have to finish and then wait in the clubhouse. I have never played in conditions like that in 20 years with cold, wind, dust. So, it was a wholesome performance.”

He admitted the last time he was playing so well was before the PGA Championships in Whistling Straits, when he finished T-5 in 2015.

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first published:March 16, 2022, 22:30 IST
last updated:March 16, 2022, 22:30 IST