The Pride of India – Anirban Lahiri: Column by Bharath Arvind

I can’t help but feel confident that he and TJ have a solid chance to beat the Americans.

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#ThePresidentsCup #TeamIntl #AnirbanLahiri #CurryPower #AsiaRising #JaiHind

Well these are some of the hashtags Indian golf fans need to populate and share over the next four days. And do remember to use them when you cheer for Lahiri and team!

As a lifelong golf fan and someone who takes great pride in India’s recent achievements in international sports I am ecstatic at the fact that the current poster boy of Indian Golf, Anirban Lahiri, is not only representing our country but also is playing a crucial role as part of the International Team of 12 players. I managed to watch the opening ceremony and felt an immense sense of pride and joy listening to the Indian national anthem being played with Anirban beaming a smile proudly amongst his peers.

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The Presidents Cup is one of golf’s grandest events at par with the four Majors and the Ryder Cup and is held every two years. Team USA battles it out with Team International (technically, rest of the world minus Europe) in an enthralling competition featuring the best golfers in the world. The 11th edition of the Presidents Cup has many firsts. This is the first time the Presidents Cup in being held in Asia (Incheon, Korea), the first time two major Asian countries – India and Thailand – are being represented, and for the first time it has as many as eight countries represented.

Anirban pairs up with Thongchai Jaidee (World #33) of Thailand to battle it out on day one against USA’s Rickie Fowler (World #5) and Jimmy Walker (World #16). Having followed Anirban closely over the past few years and following him on every tournament this year, I can’t help but feel confident that he and TJ have a solid chance to beat the Americans. Anirban has had a dream season in 2015 which began when he won the Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open (European Tour events) and then gave the best finish by an Indian in a Major Championship by finishing T5 at the PGA Championship. He is currently 39th in the world going into the Presidents Cup and that should certainly improve a few notches when we see the revised rankings on Monday.

It is also delightful that India features in one of golf’s most prestigious tournaments which should definitely help grow some much needed interest in the game in the country. The noise on social media is certainly fervent, and the Indian mass media is equally plugged into this event this year. We haven’t had this kind of excitement in a long time since Arjun Atwal, Jyoti Randhawa and Jeev Milkha Singh were tearing it up a few years ago!

Anirban Lahiri Presidents CupAnirban’s sense of humour and good heart and won him a lot of acclaim and love from his teammates on the International Team. As Captain Nick Price stated a few days ago, Anirban has a calming effect in the locker room and is considered the ‘funny man’ in the team. That should surely help ease the pressure on everyone and allow the team to put on a great show. All that is left to say now is Grip it & Rip it gentlemen. On behalf of more than 100,000 golfers in India and over a billion people, we wish you the very best Anirban.

Some stats to ponder over – The Americans have five of the top 10 players in the world and all 12 players are among the top 28 in the world ranking. The International Team has only one player in the top 10, and six players are outside the top 30. The Americans lead the event having won 8, drawn 1 and lost 1.  The last time the Americans lost the Presidents Cup, nine players on this U.S. team were still amateurs. Jordan Spieth (World #1) was in kindergarten.

Bharath Arvind is a passionate golfer, promoter of the sport and works in the PR industry.

 

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