Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri will look to address the self-confessed shortcomings in his game as he launches the new PGA Tour campaign with a debut appearance at the Safeway Open starting Thursday.
The 31-year-old Lahiri was let down by his “short game” and “lapse of concentration” as he finished 99th in the recently-concluded FedExCup points standings following four top-10s. He had finished 51st on the rankings in the previous 2016-17 PGA TOUR season.
“It was a disappointing year,” said Lahiri. “I think I played decent in the summer, had top-10s at the Travelers and Akron but in the last few events, I had three missed cuts and one average finish.
“At the end of the season, you want to play your best golf but I played my worst golf. The opposite happened last year when I got to Chicago (BMW Championship) and finished 51st on the FedExCup standings. The goal was also to win last season but I haven’t got myself into contention as consistently as I would have liked.”
The enforced break proved to be a blessing in disguise as Lahiri’s coach Vijay Divecha flew to Florida recently to spend time working out the kinks in his game.
“I enjoyed my forced time off. I’ve been able to work on my fitness and with Vijay,” said Lahiri, a two-time Presidents Cup International team member, who will tee up at Silverado Resort and Spa North starting on Thursday.
Looking back, the former Asian Tour No. 1 said his short game let him down.
“The only difference between the times I played well and didn’t play well was the short game and putting. Weeks I got in the mix was when I didn’t drop a lot of shots and kept my game really tight,” he said.
“In the last few months, starting with the PGA Championship, I had difficulty adjusting to the greens and different surfaces and it threw my confidence off and I didn’t recover from that week.
“There were too many rounds where I lost momentum. I would get to one or two-under after five or six holes but didn’t have stretches where those two-under became five-under. I didn’t build on those good starts.”
Lahiri also said he was done in by his wavering concentration.
“I also endured lapses in concentration, like when I would hit 15 greens in regulation and then make three bogeys. The tightness wasn’t there and I was leaking too many shots,” he said.
“That’s what I’m focusing on. The rest of the work continues … trying to get stronger and faster.”
Lahiri, who will represent India in the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf with Shubhankar Sharma in Australia next month, also revealed that he has gone vegetarian in the interim, saying he wanted to “feel better and feel the energy levels go up.”
“It was something that came naturally and I felt like I wanted to do it. I just wanted to try to clean up, feel better, feel the energy levels go up. It’s good for me at the moment. It also relates to my state of mind,” he said.