Honolulu, Hawaii, January 9: Anirban Lahiri starts his 2020 campaign afresh after a lot of time with the family, including his one-year-old daughter, and also a stint of meditation, which he has always found as soothing and refreshing.
Lahiri, who made earned his PGA Tour card after coming through the Korn Ferry Finals, will start at the Sony Open as he plays the first two rounds with Brian Stuard and Tom Hoge.
Lahiri said, “Off season was great. I took a lot of time off to spend it with family and also spent some time on the mind. I meditated and got away from the noise for around 10 days in December.”
As for the play, he added, “I couldn’t spend much time with (coach) Vijay (DIvecha) so we went back and forth on video quite a bit. That was good, too. Also, I played a lot of rounds and had a few games with some of the other Florida resident PGA Tour pros in December. So I am feeling fresh and raring to go.”
On the course in Hawaii for the Sony Open, he said, “The course looks good. Much softer than usual with all the rain they have got recently. It is extremely windy out here. Average wind speeds everyday are over 35kmph so controlling spin and distance will be very important.”
Lahiri’s 2019 appearance at the Sony Open saw him finish, T-43 with rounds of 68-68-71-66, as Matt Kuchar won the title.
The 32-year-old Lahiri, a former Asia No, 1, who last tasted a win in 2015 at the Hero Indian Open, has made some changes to his bag with a mix of clubs. His current ranking of 410 is the worst in nine years and he wants to be more consistent to produce results.
“I want to get more consistent this year. The last season and a half, I’ve not really contended, so I’ve worked a bit on the scoring aspect of the game, trying to work on putting rounds together, bunches of holes together and getting back to the whole competitive zone which I’ve not been in for a while. My main target (for 2020) is to get back into contention more frequently and just try and keep knocking on the door which is the only way to break through,” said Lahiri.
After falling outside the top-125 of the FedExCup points list for the first time since 2016, he needed two straight Top-10s in the Korn Ferry Tour Finals to get a lifeline as he retained his playing rights.
His current status may not give him starts in some of the higher profile PGA TOUR events but Lahiri sees it as a plus point. “I’ll have slightly limited opportunities compared to what I’ve had over the last few years and in a way, I think it’ll be good as it’ll help me focus. I feel a lot more blinkered as to what I need to do. You want to be fully exempt and play in the biggest events but I feel I’m in a good place now to work myself back and I know I can play,” he said.
“There are lots of changes in my equipment. I’m a free agent now so I can play whatever I like across the board which has freed me up to some extent. I have a full mixed bag – Titleist driver, Callaway 3 wood, Ping 5 wood, Srixon irons, Titleist/Vokey wedges and an Odyssey putter. To have that trust in what I’m playing with which at times have not been as good as I would like it to be, that’s one factor. I also changed up how I’ve gone about in practising in the off-season. It’ll be interesting to see how it pays off. I feel it’s been very productive and a step forward.”
Lahiri and wife Ipsa welcomed daughter Tisya early last year. That has also given Lahiri a fresh perspective to life. He said it has altered his priorities drastically. “Fatherhood has been fantastic. It’s been a fun ride and given me a different perspective. You go through 30 plus years of your life which 20 was all about golf and now, it’s not just golf anymore. Now, it’s second priority which I never thought it was a possibility until I became a father. It’s changed a lot of things in a good way on what I need to do.”