Sports

Feeling safe and rested Lahiri raring to tee up in Bermuda this week

V Krishnaswamy October 27 | Updated on October 27, 2020 Published on October 27, 2020

Anirban Lahiri calls playing with a whole set of protocols and Covid regulations as the ‘new normal’ but feels very safe as he gets ready to tee up at the Bermuda Championship this week. The 31-year-old Indian ace, who has had mixed results in 2020, especially after returning to action post a long lay-off when he was stuck in India during the pandemic as travel restrictions prevented him from travelling to the US for the PGA Tour, where he is now in his sixth season.

Lahiri makes his fifth start since he began re-started playing in mid-August. He missed the cut at Wyndham, the last event before the 2019-20 Play-offs, but finished T-36 at Safeway Open and T-37 at Sanderson Farms and in between he logged his first Top-10 in 18l months at Corales Puntacana. He called it a mixed bag but sounded positive going forward realising he needs a few good results to find the rhythm once again and get more starts.

“After my last event at Sanderson, I have had three weeks off, during which I worked on my game and is raring to go,” said Lahiri from Bermuda.

Speaking with select media on a video conference from Bermuda, Lahiri said, “It's been obviously a different kind of way to travel and play events. I think the Tour has done a great job of keeping us all healthy and safe ahead of everything else and still manage to conduct these events. Obviously, once we get to the tournament, we follow all the protocols. We have to test almost twice a week every week just to make sure that everyone is healthy and safe.

“It's a new normal, but it's what you need to do and what you have to adhere to right now for everyone's safety. Hopefully, we get to a point where we can start opening up a little bit more.”

As for playing in Bermuda, he feels very safe, though last year after being set for the weekend following rounds of 66-73, he had to withdraw as he seemed to have strained his side.

Talking of spectators, who will be allowed to come and see the event, he added, “I think it's a great sign. I think it's a step forward. Bermuda as a country, has done really well in managing and handling the virus. I think from the last I heard they only had 14 or 16 cases total since the start of the pandemic. I guess it's probably the safest place for spectators to come out. It will also be great for us to have the galleries again and have that atmosphere that obviously they bring, the fans bring.”

On his game, he went on, “I think it's been a bit of a mixed bag. I've had one good result and a couple of average results. I think the game has been a few loose holes every event, the game has been one bad round or mediocre round every event, and there's been a lot of good golf and a lot of birdies and a lot of other positives as well.

For me, it was just identifying where some of those mistakes are coming from and what are the areas I need to tighten up. There's been some inconsistency with my iron play. My long game and driving by and large has been good. Barring one day out of the three events that I played, my putting's been pretty solid.”

“So I can't really point a finger and say, "Oh, this department's troubling me."

When asked for an assessment of his own game, a candid Lahiri said, “That's a five‑page answer, to be honest, to go through everything, but I would assess myself before the break and then start with after.

But basically, in a nutshell, I put a lot of work in during the lockdown when I was in India, put a lot of new processes, refreshed a lot of my old practising and things that used to work for me. So obviously the effort is to get back to being able to perform at my best.

I've been able to implement a lot of those changes. There's still some things that are developing. I think as I get more tournaments in, as I get a little more experience in terms of handling some of the new attitudes, new approaches that I have on the golf course, it should gradually get better. I went back to India for the Hero Indian Open, but then you know what happened (the pandemic). But, spending extended time with my coach back in India made a huge difference, and that's beginning to show.”

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Published on October 27, 2020
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