Incheon: One is 28 and the other is 45 and yet they have a lot in common. Also, Anirban Lahiri and Thongchai Jaidee carry the burden of being the best from the most populated continent, which the legendary Jack Nicklaus, among many, calls as the 'future of golf'.
International Team player Anirban Lahiri of India practices ahead of the Presidents Cup in Incheon, Korea, yesterday. Pic/AFP
Thongchai is a three-time Asia No 1 and now World No 32, while Lahiri is the current leader on Asian Tour of Money and is World No 39. They are both now taking the European Tour by storm – Lahiri won twice this year at Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open, while Thongchai won the European Open, besides finishing second at BMW PGA.
Their approach to life and golf is also similar — calmness. Thongchai is a Buddhist and Lahiri follows Vipassana meditation. Both have reaped huge benefits from it.
Thongchai says, "Definitely its (Buddhism) is in my heart. It makes me more confident. As a Buddhist I pray all the time before I play. That gives me good luck and also makes me something to play for the International Team."
Lahiri relies on meditation and some have been asking him about it. He said, "Yeah, there have been a few people who have been curious. It's a very individual thing. Everybody has their own techniques of relaxing or getting focused or whatever you want to call it. Everyone here, all 24 of us, are great players in our own right.
"So, there are some who will ask me, and I'll be happy to share, and there are some who have their own go-tos, and you have to respect that. So for me, it works."
Above all Lahiri and Thongchai are great friends with a lot of mutual respect and trust. As International Team captain Nick Price said, "Both Anirban and Thongchai could play just about anyone on our team."