The unprecedented floods that led to the cancellation of the Greenbrier Classic earlier this month at the Old White TPC in West Virginia came without a warning. But then, that’s the case with most natural disasters.
That week of July 7 coincided with the Scottish Open, and had there been an indication of the calamity, Anirban Lahiri would have joined his Olympic teammate SSP Chawrasia at Inverness, Scotland. Notes have been exchanged over phone, but that’s hardly a substitute to sitting face-to-face and discussing the matter on hand.
For some, an Olympic medal isn’t the pinnacle of sport, for the Indian duo it is the ultimate achievement. There is added pressure, but Anirban prefers to call it “one of a kind”. He hastened to add, “I’ve played the sport long enough to know that the result is not in my control, how I prepare is.”
Eager not to miss out on any bit of the “fulfilling experience” in Rio, Anirban will fly out of Miami and arrive on August 4 to be in time for the opening ceremony. Chawrasia is a part of the contingent to leave from New Delhi.
This week is taken up by the PGA Championship, where Anirban made history last year by becoming the first Indian to record a top-five in a Major. But after he’s done at the Baltusrol Golf Club, the focus will shift to the Olympic Golf Course in Rio. Not much is known about the venue, but the two shouldn’t take long to grasp the necessary information.
Since it is strokeplay, no special preparation is required, but concerns remain over form. “It has been a frustrating season (his rookie year on the PGA Tour). I’ve finished weak on weekends, and it’s been my putting,” said Anirban.
Starting the year at No 40 on the world ranking, he’s slipped 24 spots, and that hurts. Still, the card for next season is almost secure --- the top 125 on the FedEx Cup standings make the grade, and Anirban’s ranked 102.
“A lot of people tell me to cut some slack, but I like to push myself harder,” he said.