Anirban Lahiri Blog: Getting ready for Q2 and beyond
By Anirban Lahiri
My swing coach Vijay Divecha has been down here with me since last week. We’ve been working on some issues that I’ve faced on the golf course this season as I’ve been erratic with my ball striking and with my iron play.
I’ve found a lot more fairways than I usually do but I haven’t hit as many greens as I would like and it’s not been close enough. Hence, we’re addressing a few areas that I am concerned about. It’s good to have him here and we’ve been making a lot of progress. I’m glad I’ve got two more weeks off, before starting again at Hilton Head.
Although I’ve made a lot of cuts, I’ve finished almost dead last a few times, and it’s felt like I had to grind a lot. It’s not been as free flowing as I think it should be and it’s been a lot of hard work. I seem to have put in too much effort to play some of these weekends which is terrible. While it’s good to play four days in any tournament, I have to say it’s been below par.
A lot of it goes back to the fundamentals. We’ve played on a lot of windy courses this season and I’ve had to make a lot of adjustments in the wind, and when you make adjustments, things creep into your main swing. It messes with the fundamentals and we’re ironing those things out.
There’s been some confidence issues too as I haven’t felt close to my best golf. I’ve got to build that up as well during my down time and I have to do it when I’m practicing and in my off-season.
We’re sticking to my routines, and I’ve done more gym work now than I did in the off season. I didn’t work that much in the gym in India last fall so I’m paying more attention with my physical work now. I’ve been a regular with my diet which has been a good way of life. It’ll be important to get into a healthy routine, and get back into top physical and mental shape and be ready to play good golf again.
The main area has been the scoring. I’ve not shot a lot of rounds in the 60s, which is a clear indication that some departments are letting me down. We’ve spent a few days focusing on the scoring aspect which is very important. That’s required when I go back out there and contending in tournaments. After Hilton Head, my schedule will probably take me through to THE PLAYERS Championship and the Memorial Tournament.
Due to my stature as a Presidents Cup International team member, I have got exemptions into the Open Championship and World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational later this year. I should also get into the PGA Championship (by staying in the world’s top-100).
However, I have to say it’s not ben fun missing the World Golf Championships in Mexico City and Austin in March. I’ve actually not played in a WGC since 2016 and it’s been very frustrating. Watching the recent WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was tough as I really enjoyed the event when it first went there a few years ago. That’s why it’s a big motivation for me to get myself back into these events. There’s nothing I like more than being in those events. I’ve just got to work my way to find my best golf again.
Talking about the Presidents Cup, the 2019 edition in Melbourne, Australia will be a mouth-watering affair. Everybody wants to see what transpires after Tiger (Woods) and Ernie (Els) were named captains for the United States and International teams respectively.
It’s interesting to see Tiger captaining in an overseas year at a venue where the only International win was achieved. Both Tiger and Ernie have played arguably the most exciting moments in the Presidents Cup history. All that adds up into is a very exciting Presidents Cup in 2019. It’ll be a tantalizing contest. I don’t think there’s a Presidents Cup where I want to be more a part of, so I’ll be working hard to get into the team again.
It’s been great seeing the Asian players doing so well recently. Kiradech (Aphibarnrat) has played out of his skin, and playing the golf of his life. And I definitely think over the next few years, more Asians will be in the Presidents Cup teams. Thongchai (Jaidee) and myself were the first non-Japanese, non-Korean golfers in 2015 in Korea and it was certainly big for Asian golf.
We’ve had K.J (Choi), Y.E. (Yang) and Hideki (Matsuyama) being stalwarts over the years but you can see that trend changing as the strength of golf in Asia is improving dramatically. We’ve also got Haotong Li and Shubhankar Sharma now and more will follow. Someone like Phachara (Khongwatmai) has the potential. Then again, we’re still 18 months away from Melbourne and hopefully there’ll be a bunch of us in top form at the right time next year.