Anirban Lahiri. Filepic
La Quinta, California, January 19: Anirban Lahiri will finally begin his 2022 campaign at the American Express this week after a long lay-off since the Fall season. A refreshing trip home, some work with his coach and spending time with friends and family has put the Indian ace in a good frame of mind.
The third event of the calendar year, the American Express is played on the Pro-Am format and on three courses.
Lahiri spent time home and is now raring to go. “I was in India for a while. I spent almost a month and a half and I actually extended the trip because I wanted to do some more work on the game.
“It was a really good trip after a pretty average and disappointing fall. I wanted to come back and get some good work in and go back with a little more confidence and a little more energy.
“So I’m looking forward,” added Lahiri, who initially planned to kick off with Sony Open, but will now start with American Express.
He added, “The game feels much better. I was working on my scoring to make it more consistent. I had some good ones then I had some average ones just working on my ball tracking overall and my approach and attitude on the golf course and just having a little more fun. I don’t think I had enough fun on the golf course. I wasn’t enjoying myself. It had started feeling a little bit more like work so one of the reasons I stayed back and stayed home a little longer was to have some downtime and play some golf with my friends. It has been good to spend some time with Chikka (Chikkarangappa) and also some time with Shubhankar and spend time with (coach) Vijay Divecha. as well. So, it was a fantastic trip and I’m looking forward to 2022 now.”
Lahiri will also like to reverse the not-so-good record at the event over the last two years but he did have two decent results in 2016 (T-25) and in 2017 (T-28) when the event was called CareerBuilder Challenge.
Lahiri, who hopes to find some early form and stake a claim for selection into the International Team for the Presidents Cup later in the year, will compete alongside the likes of International teammates Cameron Smith and Hideki Matsuyama, who having enjoyed memorable victories on the PGA TOUR over the past fortnight in Hawaii. Another International member looking to make a mark is Taiwan’s CT Pan, who played the 2019 Presidents Cup.
The highlight for Pan in 2021 was the Olympic bronze, for which he prevailed in a seven-man playoff which included Rory McIlroy, Collin Morikawa and Matsuyama. Pan, who played the latter part of the season with a back injury just managed to keep his card finishing 121st on the FedExCup points list.
Other big stars this week include reigning FedExCup champion Patrick Cantlay, World No. 1 Jon Rahm and title holder Si Woo Kim.
The 2022 American Express Pro-Am format consists of two golf tournaments going on at the same time for the 156 professionals in the field.
The 156 pros are each paired with an amateur player, forming 156 two-player pairings. Each golfer will play one round on the host, PGA West’s Pete Dye Stadium Course, La Quinta Country Club and the Nicklaus Tournament Course. The final round will once again be at the Stadium Course. There will be 52 golfers on each course each day. The cut comes in after three rounds, that is 54 holes.