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Ready to 'soak' in the Open experience

The trip to the Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in May was meant to "soak up what's to unfold" at The Open Championship, but the three-day stay also helped Anirban Lahiri put things in perspective. Robin Bose reports.

other Updated: Jul 18, 2012 22:36 IST
Robin Bose

The trip to the Royal Lytham & St Annes Golf Club in May was meant to “soak up what's to unfold” at The Open Championship, but the three-day stay also helped Anirban Lahiri put things in perspective. The anticipation grows with each passing day, but mingling with a cross-section made him realise that he is among a handful going through mild anxiety, which stems from turning out for his maiden Major.

“Back home it may seem huge, but once here, you realise its not that big,” he told HT. "Here I was, with an elderly gentleman as my caddy, who had carried the bag for an amateur at The Open. Or the man who had featured in three of them, and yet did not have a status on any Tour.

“A good show will make it a special moment, not a tee up to make up numbers.” Also deflecting the mind from the enormity of the occasion is the advice from Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal. “Don’t dwell on it, they told me.”

The Lahiris will be out at near-full strength this week. “Dad’s excited as he will walk with me for the first time abroad. Mom was reluctant, had a change of heart, but it was too late.”

Despite the tinge of regret, Lahiri hopes the early familiarisation and arriving almost a week in advance will leave him with memories fit to adorn the walls of his Bangalore home.

Experiencing the north easterly and south westerly wind or staying clear of the numerous bunkers, which dot this ancient links course, Lahiri knows that pulling out the yardage book and letting it rip isn’t the way to go.

Strategising isn’t a term alien to Lahiri and he startled his caddy with his navigation skills. “The ball flight led him (caddy) to remark, ‘that’s a links shot, where did you learn it’,” said Lahiri. Though the venues have little in common, the necessity of keeping the ball low and on the fairway at the Delhi Golf Club came handy. Aware that not many tap-ins for birdie or par would come his way, putting was another area that was worked on.

Watching the grandstands come up worked towards familiarisation, Lahiri also spend time off the course to get his bearings right. Checking out the town for accommodation, food and groceries may be trivial issues, but “they add up to the state of mind”.

“They help relax on the course. It’ll be unlike the (2008) Singapore Open, when I felt like a lost puppy,” he said.