June 9: Anirban Lahiri hopes to get back into the groove as he tries to negotiate past what has been a start-stop-start-stop kind of a run these last few months.
Lahiri, who had his momentum halted with some disappointing results on the West Coast and then because of. Covid, is now looking to get back into the thick of things as he tees up at Palmetto Championship, a new event on the PGA Tour in Ridgeland, Gillisonville.
Lahiri apart Arjun Atwal is also in the field. Lahiri plays the first round with Smylie Kaufman and Padraig Harrington, who is all perked up after a top-5 at the PGA Championship. Atwal plays early morning with Tommy Fleetwood and Chase Seiffert.
Talking of his season, Lahiri admitted it was frustrating. He said, “I think obviously fall was really good. I was focused and I played pretty well. Then starting out on the West Coast I’ve always found it a little difficult with the weather and the golf courses. They don’t fit my eye and I kind of lost a little bit of confidence early in the year. I had to do a lot of work and I think I got into a really good space. I had a really good finish in Texas and then two weeks later I was down with COVID and took (away) all the momentum and all the work I had put in for the last six months. So it’s been definitely frustrating.”
Lahiri last won in 2015 at the Hero Indian Open in India and since then, he has come close but not actually crossed the line.
Lahiri has not played the Congaree Golf Club, but said “It’s rated as one of the best golf courses and I’ve heard good things about it. I did some reading up on the Congaree Foundation and what they’re about and how they give back and support kids and help them to not just become better golfers but teach them life skills and that’s something that I’m very respectful and almost want to learn from them and see if going forward how I could incorporate it into what I would like to do in terms of giving back.”
Talking of the FedExCup, he added, “I think it’s pretty simple for me. I’ve done some good work over the last few months. I’m just trying to get back to playing good golf because I know if I play anywhere near my best, I can produce the results I need; not just to get to the playoffs but go deep in the playoffs. I would love to make it all the way down to the TOUR Championship. But right now I’m just focusing on the job at hand and just taking it one day at a time, one week at a time, because I’ve had to deal and face that challenge in front of me for the last couple of months, so I’m just in that state of mind right now.”
Lahiri also admits having one eye on the Olympics, “Definitely. I know that this is the last of the qualification weeks. It will be a nice bonus, but I’ve got a lot of things that I need to take care of and when you play golf there’s always something to do; even if you’re doing well, you can do better. If you’re top-50 you can be top-25, if you’re top-25, (then) top-10. That’s the nature of what we do. So there’s always a lot to play for – like the Tokyo Olympics, the playoffs, it’s never ending.”
The proceeds from the event will benefit the Congaree Foundation, which also looks at the Congaree Global Golf Initiative (CGGI). It is the Foundation’s signature program, which provides underserved and well-deserving high school students who aspire to play collegiate golf access to the highest level of athletic coaching and academic tools to enhance their opportunities for success.
The top stars in the field include the World No. 1 Dustin Johnson, former World No., 1 and 4-time Major winner Brooks Koepka, former Major winners, Danny Willett, Jason Dufner, Padraig Harrington and others.