Lahiri seeks meaningful debut at #TheMasters

Wed 08 Apr 2015

Lahiri seeks meaningful debut at #TheMasters

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Augusta, Georgia, April 8: India’s Anirban Lahiri has picked the brains of former Masters champions Vijay Singh and Nick Faldo as he prepares for his highly anticipated debut in the year’s opening Major at Augusta National which starts on Thursday.
The current Asian Tour number one has been gaining confidence by the minute at the hallowed turf of Augusta National where he will become only the third Indian to tee up at the Masters Tournament.
Lahiri, who will play the opening two rounds with Lee Westwood and Miguel Angel Jimenez, was also invited for a press conference on Monday where he spoke eloquently about his presence at the prestigious tournament. Watch video here http://tinyurl.com/nxa3lyk
He will also compete in the Par-3 Contest on Wednesday, which is a traditional curtain-raiser to the Masters Tournament.
Anirban Lahiri of India Anirban Lahiri of India
The 27-year-old, who has won four times on the Asian Tour in the past 12 months, enjoyed a nine-hole practice round with 2000 Masters winner Singh, who is an honorary member of the Asian Tour Tour, while he also spent 20 minutes talking to Faldo on the intricacies of Augusta National.
“I had a chance to catch up with Sir Nick Faldo this morning, and he's one of the greats who has been really well out here.  I had about a 15 , 20 minute chat ... well, I didn't have a chat.  He had a chat with me; I was listening,” said Lahiri.
“I also had a chance to play nine holes on the back nine with Vijay Singh, he's a past champion as well.”
Lahiri has risen to number 34 in the Official World Golf Ranking, thanks also to two wins at the Maybank Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open in February. While he is being regarded as the new face of Indian golf, Lahiri insists he feels no burden of expectations when he hits that opening drive on Thursday.
“No, I don't think the expectations of Indian fans and golf followers is a burden.  I mean, it's a choice that I have to make. I can either be energized and motivated by it or I can choose to say, you know, people expect me to do this or that, and let that get on top of me.
“But I know, the thing is, when you actually meet these people, and I'm saying this because I felt it, when you meet them and you talk to them, and you listen to what they have to say and how they feel, it's fantastic.  They are so proud.  And how can that make me feel bad?  How is that possible?”
While no debutant since Fuzzy Zoeller has won at the Masters in his first appearance, Lahiri’s recent victories have installed him in a feeling of confidence.
He said: “I think my goals are quite simple. I just have to go out there and enjoy myself.  It is my first time here, so it is really playing with no expectations honestly. At the risk of not sounding like I have no expectations, it's like you're not playing for something. There's no pressure in terms of, you know, what happens if I don't finish here or there.
“It's the easiest when it is your first time out here, because you are a rookie.  And you can just go out there and express yourself and have fun.
“Having said that, I know that if I can play anywhere close to my A-Game, I will be there on Sunday.  Where will I be on Sunday? I don't know. But that's the whole point, to try to be there somewhere, when 63 holes are over and you give yourself an outside chance, whether it's for the win, for the Top 5 or the Top 10, for the Top 20, I don't care. I just want to be there on Sunday afternoon, giving myself a chance to do something that is meaningful to me.”