My sister Nisha and I are Indian through parentage but represent the generation that is born and brought up in North America. We started playing golf early little realizing the impact that the game, our heritage and education would have on the future of our business and careers. With the rest of the world we followed and reveled in the achievements of Tiger and Phil and the great golf that was on TV every week. But our hearts always looked for someone from India to achieve the success that we could root for. Someone we could be proud of as Indians. Some of our most memorable experiences included meeting Chopra, Singh and Atwal. We excitedly followed the successes of Chowrasia, Kapur and the young Bullar who has done India so proud. But nothing prepared us for the impact that Anirban Lahiri was going to have on Indian golf and the excitement that he would generate among the entire golf community in North America.
He “arrived” so to speak in 2014 breaking into the top 100 in the world golf rankings with two victories on the Asian Tour. The journey actually started back in 2007 when he turned Professional after playing on the Indian tour, with unquestionable talent and ability. He has a total of 18 wins worldwide. He first caught our eye in 2012 at The Open at Royal Lytham and St. Annes. TV coverage could not help but show his hole-in-one. Who is Lahiri … he made the cut … he finished tied for 31st … he is Indian… Wow !!! So began the excitement. Anirban did not disappoint. With continued victories and growth in his game we watched with bated breath as he broke into the top 50 in the world by winning the Malaysian and Indian Opens this year. The Masters now had BONUS excitement for us. He made the cut on the number in his very first attempt against the best in the world.
PGD (Play Golf Designs Inc.) Global is our company, we produce spectacular and unique golf event, and decided to throw Anirban a party in San Francisco during the World Golf Championships Match Play. We wanted to honor him, his achievements and help promote golf, one of PGD’s main missions. As Indian women living in North America we want to play our part in growing the game. We have knowledge of the game and what it takes to compete. Both my sister and I have played professionally all over the world and trained hard throughout our lives. We have now transitioned in building a sound event business that showcases golf vibrantly. Anirban was presented with a Leadership Trophy and Mike Phillips, one of the best sax players in the world played at the Indian inspired jazz. Signature cocktails by Hope & Grace Wines were featured and paired with cuisine from a local San Francisco Indian restaurant called Mela, it was all beautifully displayed. Anirban lived up to our expectations. He is outgoing and mixed well with everyone, yet through it all he was humble, dedicated to his sport and growing the game in India and wherever he plays. Has a beautiful wife who is his support system, she is funny, sweet and outgoing as well. He has a great caddy who politely told us we mispronounced his name throughout our entire presentation, we are so Indo-American! At least he waited, and graciously told us with a smile.
What impressed us the most of all was the support and turn out of the Indian golfing community. If the San Francisco chapter of Indian golf is this large, we can imagine what it is like across North America. Anirban is currently the new face of Indian golf without a doubt. If he has brought this much pride and excitement into the San Francisco community, we can only imagine the impact he must have on golf in India. Whether it’s young people trying to build a career, sponsors looking to get the best bang for their buck, or the numerous off-shoot businesses that International conglomerates like Titleist and Nike can impact, Indian golf has never been in a better position. There is great veteran talent and phenomenal representation on the Asian, European and PGA tours, and I am proud to be a part of my growing and vibrant Indian golf community.
Time to celebrate, so let’s raise our glasses. To Anirban and all the rest of India’s growing golf talent, the exciting times to come, resounding victories and enjoying the game of golf. Let the party begin.