I Feel Like A Kid In A Candy Store – Anirban On Tiger Woods’ India Visit
India’s homegrown golf star Anirban Lahiri is going to be among the chosen few to be with Tiger Woods during a private event in the capital city in the first week of February. Lahiri who has played with many a golf star is excited to have Tiger on home soil and particularly interested in seeing him play at the complex, forest lined Lodhi course at the Delhi Golf Club. Lahiri says he feels like a kid in a candy store!
Q. The idea of Tiger coming to India can mean a lot for Indian golf, how do you read into this huge development?
A. I am thrilled to see this. It’s clearly what everyone is talking about. Mr Pawan Munjal, who is getting him has been a big supporter of golf. It’s going to be good. Tiger is the pied piper in the game and always has been a big game changer for golf. People will suddenly start taking notice of the sport and hopefully Tiger will lead the story to the front pages.
Q. The choice of the Delhi Golf Club, does that add excitement to the game Tiger plans to play on Indian soil, even though it’s not a big tournament but a private event?
A. I think Delhi Golf Club is a great space for Tiger to play. I am sure he will be great. Just this morning I was playing with Angad Cheema and we were discussing at least we have a course like DGC to offer to a man like Tiger Woods. Most of the other courses are parkland, contoured and resort like which Tiger is used to playing. This is unique. And his game promises to be something he takes back. A unique experience. I have a feeling that Arjun Atwal, who is a good friend of Tiger, has something to do with the fact that Tiger is playing at DGC.
Q. Given that you have won at DGC a few times, what kind of challenges would Tiger need to brace for?
A. It’s Tiger Woods so it’s not like he is another normal guy who will get intimidated by the course. For him just one round of golf and he will figure out what needs to be done. The fact is that you don’t need to carry drivers for this course. It’s an iron play…that’s the whole USP of this course. Then you don’t get intimated by the hazards and the forest like layout. Tiger invented iron game and so he will know that DGC can be tamed by beating the field with shots. But then DGC is the one the course where it always makes you think you are getting the better of the course when you may not.
Q. What would be the key things people expect off him you think? And you?
A. I think it will be interesting to know what he thinks of the country. It’s his first time on an Indian course. Arjun Atwal who is a close friend of his – I am sure he has had a chat with him. I am sure he is prepared by him as well for the course.
Q. What can Tiger’s arrival here in India do to the golf focus in the course?
A. I don’t know how much it will change the sponsorship scene. It will definitely put a spotlight on golf. Thanks to Tiger, golf has attention. For the two days, even on the front page, there will be articles on him and golf. And that’s an achievement by itself.
Q. DGC and Tiger Woods are the perfect combination for big galleries?
A. Galleries at DGC matter a great deal. They make the sport exciting. I have seen Tiger at the CIMB, and other super stars and what amazing galleries they carry. When I played with them, there were memorable galleries.
A special moment for me has been to have the opportunity to have played with Garcia, Els, Stenson and many others but I have to count a day in Japan when the galleries beat my expectations. This was when I played with KT Kim and Ryo Ishikawa. There were about 2000 people walking with us. It was an exhilarating moment. Of course Ryo is Japanese equivalent of Tiger Woods in the east.
Q. How do you feel about being there at DGC as Tiger tees off?
A. I feel like a kid going to a candy shop!