Anirban Lahiri is all set to put behind the disappointment of the 2014 British Open as he gears up for the third Major appearance of his career at next week’s PGA Championship scheduled to be played at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky.
Lahiri, who missed the cut at the British Open earlier this month after suffering from high fever, has now fully recovered. The four-time Asian Tour winner finally got some practice on Thursday.
“I was diagnosed with chicken-pox and it took me about 10 days for full recovery. I hit some balls today after almost two weeks,” said Lahiri, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader.
Anirban, now preparing to make his debut at the year’s last Major, is keen to capitalize on his good form in the current season in order to deliver a memorable performance in Louisville.
“I’ve been on top of my game this season. Earning my way to the last two Majors of the year has only added to my confidence. The PGA Championship now presents me with a great opportunity to make an impact at the highest level of the sport as the field at the tournament will feature the world’s elite golfers,” added the world no. 87, who bagged his first overseas title in Indonesia earlier this year.
The 27-year-old Bangalorean knows he’ll have to adapt well to the conditions at the Valhalla Golf Club as this will be only his second tournament on American soil.
“I have very limited experience of playing in the United States. My only previous outing in America was during the 2012 PGA Tour Qualifying School in Florida. I had missed out on qualifying on that occasion.
“I’ll only have an idea of the conditions at Valhalla after playing the practice round. It’ll be essential for me to adapt quickly to the conditions in order to make a good start to the event. The presence of my coach Mr. Vijay Divecha will help me a great deal.”
Although Anirban missed the cut at the British Open, he drew a lot of positives from the event.
“I’m quite happy that I played The Open and managed to finish the two rounds despite being unwell. It was a learning experience as I got to observe some of the top players in the world from close quarters including the reigning US Open champion Martin Kaymer of Germany who was my playing partner during the practice round. He is a very friendly and intelligent person.
“I suffered from high fever on day two of The Open but my strong will-power helped me finish the event with my head held high as I shot a respectable three-over-75 in the second round. These are some positives that I’ll carry to the PGA Championship,” said Lahiri, who made a sensational Major debut with a tied 31st finish at the 2012 British Open, his best result at a Major so far.
Anirban is the second Indian to appear at the Majors in 2014. Shiv Kapur had played the US Open earlier in the year where he posted an impressive tied 23rd finish.
As he tees off at Valhalla on August 7, Lahiri will join the elite company of compatriots Jeev Milkha Singh, Jyoti Randhawa, Arjun Atwal and Shiv Kapur, all of whom have competed in at least two of the four Majors. Anirban is now also set to become the fourth Indian to appear at the PGA Championship, following in the footsteps of Jeev, Jyoti and Arjun.