Anirban Lahiri is living a dream. The golfer, who finished tied fifth at the PGA Championship, tells Chander Shekhar Luthra that he believes in himself more than ever before
Did you ever think of finishing in the top five of the PGA Championship?
Well, the last few months have been fantastic for me. I had never thought of playing all the Majors and WGC (World Golf Championship) events, let alone performing well. It was great to hold my card till Sunday (the final day of the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin) and then secure a top-five finish. I can only hope that this is the beginning of right things for me.
Tell us about the final day at the PGA Championship? What was going on in your mind?
Honestly, it was one of those days when I felt really comfortable. In my mind, I was looking at getting as many birdies as possible. I was not really thinking about finishing inside the top five or 10. The whole idea was to produce my best and then see where I had finished. At one stage, I was tied third during the day but, by that time, I had stopped looking at the leaderboard. Had I seen my score, I would have played my last hole differently where I closed with a bogey on the 18th.
You have returned to top-50 in the world rankings (38th) and look all set to get into the International Team for the President’s Cup in South Korea in October. Your thoughts…
As of now, I look most likely to make the team. If that happens, it would be another dream come true for me. Playing in the President’s Cup is something you want to do as a professional golfer. It’s the highest recognition one can have from his region, be it America or Europe. I am looking forward to that opportunity and can’t wait to become part of the team.
Are your more confident about your game after this impressive finish at Whistling Straits?
The self-belief has been stronger after my good show at the PGA Championship. I played all four Majors this season and made the cut on three occasions. I won the Malaysian Open and Indian Open. I did well at the Augusta Masters and The Open. That’s what has made the difference in my game. This shows that top golfers like Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Jordan Spieth are beatable.
How confident are you about your own qualification for Rio 2016 as golf will be making a return to the Olympic Games?
According to the rules, the two top-ranked Indian golfers will qualify for it and the cut-off is July 2016. This year, I have played some good golf and hopefully I shall qualify for Rio. The second-best placed Indian golfer is SSP Chawrasia and we both have to maintain our rankings.