GET­TING READY FOR Q2 AND BEYOND

The Asian Age - - Sport+ -

■ It’s in­ter­est­ing to see Tiger Woods cap­tain­ing in an over­seas year at a venue where the only In­ter­na­tional win was achieved. Both Tiger and Ernie Els have played ar­guably the most ex­cit­ing mo­ments in the Pres­i­dents Cup his­tory. All that adds up into is a very ex­cit­ing Pres­i­dents Cup in 2019. It’ll be a tan­ta­lis­ing con­test. I don’t think there’s a Pres­i­dents Cup where I want to be more a part of, so I’ll be work­ing hard to get into the team again.

My swing coach Vijay Divecha has been down here with me in the US since last week. We’ve been work­ing on some is­sues that I’ve faced on the golf course this sea­son as I’ve been er­ratic with my ball strik­ing and with my iron play.

I’ve found a lot more fair­ways than I usu­ally do but I haven’t hit as many greens as I would like and it’s not been close enough. Hence, we’re ad­dress­ing a few ar­eas that I am con­cerned about. It’s good to have him here and we’ve been mak­ing a lot of progress. I’m glad I’ve got two more weeks off, be­fore start­ing again at Hil­ton Head.

Al­though I’ve made a lot of cuts, I’ve fin­ished al­most dead last a few times, and it’s felt like I had to grind a lot. It’s not been as free flow­ing as I think it should be and it’s been a lot of hard work. I seem to have put in too much ef­fort to play some of these week­ends which is ter­ri­ble. While it’s good to play four days in any tour­na­ment, I have to say it’s been be­low par.

A lot of it goes back to the fundamentals. We’ve played on a lot of windy cour­ses this sea­son and I’ve had to make a lot of ad­just­ments in the wind, and when you make ad­just­ments, things creep into your main swing. It messes with the fundamentals and we’re iron­ing those things out.

There’s been some con­fi­dence is­sues too as I haven’t felt close to my best golf. I’ve got to build that up as well dur­ing my down time and I have to do it when I’m prac­tis­ing and in my off- sea­son.

We’re stick­ing to my rou­tines, and I’ve done more gym work now than I did in the off sea­son. I didn’t work that much in the gym in In­dia last fall so I’m pay­ing more at­ten­tion with my phys­i­cal work now. I’ve been a reg­u­lar with my diet which has been a good way of life. It’ll be im­por­tant to get into a healthy rou­tine, and get back into top phys­i­cal and men­tal shape.

The main area has been the scor­ing. I’ve not shot a lot of rounds in the 60s, which is a clear in­di­ca­tion that some de­part­ments are let­ting me down. We’ve spent a few days fo­cus­ing on the scor­ing as­pect which is very im­por­tant. That’s re­quired when I go back out there and con­tend­ing in tour­na­ments. Af­ter Hil­ton Head, my sched­ule will prob­a­bly take me through to The Play­ers Cham­pi­onship and the Memorial Tour­na­ment.

Due to my stature as a Pres­i­dents Cup In­ter­na­tional team mem­ber, I have got ex­emp­tions into the Open Cham­pi­onship and World Golf Cham­pi­onships- Bridge­stone In­vi­ta­tional later this year. I should also get into the PGA Cham­pi­onship ( by stay­ing in the world’s top- 100).

How­ever, I have to say it’s not ben fun miss­ing the World Golf Cham­pi­onships in Mex­ico City and Austin in March. I’ve not played in a WGC since 2016 and it’s been very frus­trat­ing. Watch­ing the re­cent WGC- Dell Tech­nolo­gies Match Play was tough as I re­ally en­joyed the event when it first went there a few years ago. That’s why it’s a big mo­ti­va­tion for me to get my­self back into these events. There’s noth­ing I like more than be­ing in those events. I’ve just got to work my way to find my best golf again.

Talk­ing about the Pres­i­dents Cup, the 2019 edi­tion in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia will be a mouth- wa­ter­ing af­fair. Ev­ery­body wants to see what tran­spires af­ter Tiger ( Woods) and Ernie ( Els) were named cap­tains for the United States and In­ter­na­tional teams re­spec­tively.

It’s in­ter­est­ing to see Tiger cap­tain­ing in an over­seas year at a venue where the only In­ter­na­tional win was achieved. Both Tiger and Ernie have played ar­guably the most ex­cit­ing mo­ments in the Pres­i­dents Cup his­tory. All that adds up into is a very ex­cit­ing Pres­i­dents Cup in 2019. It’ll be a tan­ta­lis­ing con­test. I don’t think there’s a Pres­i­dents Cup where I want to be more a part of, so I’ll be work­ing hard to get into the team again.

It’s been great see­ing the Asian play­ers do­ing so well re­cently. Ki­radech ( Aphibarn­rat) has played out of his skin, and play­ing the golf of his life. And I def­i­nitely think over the next few years, more Asians will be in the Pres­i­dents Cup teams. Thongchai ( Jaidee) and my­self were the first non-Ja­panese, non- Korean golfers in 2015 in Ko­rea and it was cer­tainly big for Asian golf.

We’ve had K. J. ( Choi), Y. E. ( Yang) and Hideki ( Mat­suyama) be­ing stal­warts over the years but you can see that trend chang­ing as the strength of golf in Asia is im­prov­ing dra­mat­i­cally. We’ve also got Hao­tong Li and Shubhankar Sharma now and more will fol­low.

Anir­ban Lahiri will next com­pete in the RBC Her­itage at the Har­bour Town Golf Links at Hil­ton Head, South Carolina, be­gin­ning April 12.

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