08 September, 2017: The surprise inclusion of Anirban Lahiri to the Presidents Cup team has drawn reactions ranging from joy to puzzlement and everything in between. Nick Price went beyond golf and picked the Indian for his ability to work around a team setting and a thinking mind. With Anirban already into the third leg of the FedexCup Playoffs, September has become an exciting month for golf fans in India.
But the news that has made the most waves is the inclusion of Anirban to the International Team for the President’s Cup. The 30 year old was lying 16th in the rankings used to select the team. The top ten gain automatic selection, with the captain afforded two spots at his discretion.
Price seems to have been convinced by the energy and attitude of Anirban, as much as he is by the young man’s golf skills.
“He brings a lot to the team room. He’s got a very positive personality,” explained Price, when asked by the media about his second pick. “There were many reasons, but the big reason for us is he plays full-time on the U.S. tour.”
The best endorsement though came from Jeev Milkha Singh, who captained Anirban on his Asian team during the Eurasia Cup tournament in 2016.
“Having been @anirbangolf ‘s captain at @EurAsiaCupGolf, I know why Nick Price and others think so highly of him. Team man and a deep thinker,” concluded an obviously delighted Jeev on his twitter profile.
“Delighted and so proud that @anirbangolf has been named for @PresidentsCup. Congratulations and well deserved,” he said in his first reaction to the selection of Anirban.
Across the ocean though there is skepticism about the role Anirban can play at the end of the month on the Liberty National course.
“Price may see something in Lahiri that’s not in the statistics. After his sub-par performance in the last matches, there will certainly be a desire to redeem himself and Lahiri is a popular addition to the team room,” surmised Rex Hoggard in his piece for the Golf Channel website.
“But in the global Jenga game of getting 12 players to play for one flag, picking Lahiri appears to check off one box while leaving a collection of unanswered questions,” he added.
Those are questions that Anirban would love to answer when the International team takes on a formidable American team in New Jersey, from the 26 – 30 September.
Interestingly, Hideki Matsuyama, the top International seems like the only one on the team that lacks a partner. Anirban can be just the right fit for the rampant Japanese star. The two are good friends, often exchanging notes about their journey on the PGA TOUR.
Anirban could offer much needed company to Hideki, a vital player in the International team. The Japanese on the other hand could help the Indian raise his game, creating a recipe that could upset the American plans.