Only a golfer will know the feeling of qualifying for British Open: Anirban Lahiri

 Only a golfer will know the feeling of qualifying for British Open: Anirban LahiriThe defending champion of Panasonic Open, Anirban Lahiri talks to Gaurav Jha of Indian Sports News about his future plans. He talks about qualifying for the British Open, his expectations, the changes he has made to his game and much more. EXCERPTS:

ISN: How important was it for you to qualify for the British Open?
It was very important and I am very happy that I have qualified for the British Open. British Open is one of the oldest tournaments in the history of golf and every golfer has a dream to participate in that. It is like qualifying for the Wimbledon. Only a golfer will know the feeling of achieving this.

ISN: Is qualifying for the British Open the best thing that has happened in your golfing career?
I don’t consider qualifying as a big achievement. I have to perform well there and then it will be a good thing. I always wanted to play in this tournament and now I have got a chance. In terms of qualifying it’s right up to my top achievements.

ISN: How do you feel going into the Panasonic Open 2012?
I am very confident going into the tournament. I have been playing well and will look to carry the momentum in this tournament as well. I have been working on my temperament and will continue to do that. This is the first time that I will be defending an Asian Tour Championship and I will give it my best shot.

ISN: What are the changes that you have done to your game of late?
I have always been trying to improve my swing. I am really trying very hard to improve my short game. Mentally I have grown stronger and the meditation that I have been following has helped me a lot and I will continue to follow that. I am trying to play the way that I used to play when I was an amateur because at that time I used to focus on my game. I am trying to improve my game all the time.

ISN: What are your plans for the future?
My main aim is to play well in European tournaments and for that I will have to improve my finishing game. My main target is to play well irrespective of the result. In future, I want to be a better golfer both with the swing and mentally.

ISN: How are you preparing for the British Open?
I have been talking to a lot of players. I have spoken to Gaganjeet and Jeev and they have helped me a lot. I will go a month or 45 days before the tournament to get accustomed to the climate there. I have taken two weeks off from playing so that I can get ready for the tournaments ahead. British Open is a very important tournament for me and I will put my best foot forward.

ISN: You are defending your title in the Panasonic Open; will that be an added pressure on you?
I don’t think so. I played well last year and that is the reason I won. I have always enjoyed playing in Delhi Golf Club and would like to carry on doing so. I know that the expectations will be higher from me as I am the defending champion and I would try my best to retain the title.