April 13: When Anirban Lahiri tees up at the RBC Heritage at Hilton Head this week, he will not have to look far for inspiration. He was overjoyed to see Hideki Matsuyama, one of his good friends on the PGA Tour, win the Masters.
In addition, Lahiri, who is used to having his Vijay Divecha with him in the US every 2-3 months, is finally re-united for three weeks with the coach, who arrived right at the start of the Masters week, which was off for Lahiri.
Lahiri, who had struggled for quite some time before coming up with a solid showing at the Valero Texas Open for a fifth place after a long time, had said, “Now I await the arrival of Vijay, he comes in next week. And, you know we’ll get to work on the other departments and just try and build on this. It will be nice to actually have him take over and have me think less and do more. It’s been, it’s been tough the last three or four weeks just grinding, grinding, and grinding and working hard. So it felt nice to be rewarded by a nice week (in Texas). And now Vijay can add to that.”
Lahiri said, “Having him (Divecha) is a big change, Had not had him next to me watching my game physically. It is a big difference.”
Divecha will spend around three weeks with Lahiri. Divecha said, “We work in the week of Masters, play the RBC Heritage and have another week off to work. Then let’s see.”
The confidence of a Top-5 after a long time and seeing a good friend, Matsuyama win one of the biggest prizes in the game, has been a big boost.
“Hideki is a good friend since we played on the Presidents Cup team. And we knew each other a bit from the Tour before that also. Seeing him play the highest level and win a Masters was a big boost.”
Soon after Matsuyama’s magnificent win, Lahiri tweeted, “What a win! Hideki you did it ! Time for all of us to step. So happy and proud of you my friend! #asiarising #gointl #Masters #greenjacket “
Talking of the week in Texas, Lahiri said, “It was really good week, a solid week. Just generally, I think my game was rock solid tee to green. When I’ve put in a lot of hours a lot of work. These last month 45 days, you know, going through that tough stretch on the Florida swing was not easy. I was hitting the ball terrible, lots and lots of back and forth with Vijay and of videos and lots of instructions lots of applications. All that work on videos sent back and forth with Vijay was great.”
Divecha’s mantra for Lahiri is – just simplify things. He said, “He (Lahiri) would not have reached where he is if he was not good, but you should not try to do too much or too many things. That’s what we are addressing. Simplifying things.”
On how he tried to help from India, Divecha said, “We realized that there was nothing we could do. Without vaccines I could not travel. Once vaccination was announced, I made sure I got them to travel.”
“From India, I was sitting on his shoulders and watching videos and using technology to guide him. I gave him a set of protocols. He would try and call me even at intervals of 15-20 minutes so we could discuss. It worked in Texas, bit being there with him on the range is a different thing.”
“For a player, being alone while working on some areas is not easy. It can be confusing if something is now working. It took time. Getting to where he was in Texas took us some time, now hopefully we can work on various things further,” added Divecha.
The RBC Heritage returns to its traditional post-Masters spot on the schedule after serving as the second event in last year’s Return to Golf.
World No. 1 Dustin Johnson who missed the cut at the Masters, a South Carolina native, will be headlining the field which also includes Webb Simpson, the defending champion.
Collin Morikawa, current FedExCup leader Bryson DeChambeau, Will Zalatoris, who was in the final group Saturday at the Masters, are all also in the field. Other notables teeing it up include Patrick Cantlay, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, and Daniel Berger.