Golfer Anirban Lahiri seeks new techniques from coach
Quail Hollow, long regarded as one of the top courses of the Tour, but hosting a Major for the first time, will see Anirban Lahiri seek an encore and may go even better at the 99th PGA Championships. The Par-71 course stretches to 7,600 yards and will play even longer in rain.
He has his coach Vijay Divecha at his side for the Championships. He said: "Vijay and I have been working the past couple of weeks on new practice and attitude techniques, something that will definitely help me in the course. I'm excited going into this week."
In what has been a 'mixed bag' of a season, Lahiri twice came close to his breakthrough win. The first was at the CIMB Classic where he was Tied-3rd. More recently he was T-2 at the Memorial. Those two results sealed his card and appearances at the FedExCup play-offs, but the fact that he has not won after being two and half years on PGA does stay in his mind.
This calendar year he has had only two Top-5s – the T-5 at Hero Indian Open in March and the Memorial in June.
The PGA Championships is the only Major, where Indians have twice finished in the Top-10 of a Major. Jeev Milkha Singh did that with his Tied-9th in 2008 and Anirban Lahiri made it the first ever Top-5 for an Indian with his T-5 at the 2015 event in Whistling Straits. Lahiri will tee for his 13th Major, where Jeev has played 14.
Lahiri said: "It is nice to come back to a venue [Quail Hollow] where I have some playing experience [the Wells Fargo Championship 2016]. The course has taken a lot of rain and is playing very long. The key this week will be the greens and they are similar to Augusta in speed and slope. So, it will be important to keep the ball on the correct side to give yourself the best opportunities."
Quail Hollow has some kind memories for Lahiri, who in 2016 shot an opening round of 66 that placed him one shot off the lead. He eventually ended Tied-41st as James Hahn won that week ahead of a star-studded field that included Justin Rose, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler, all of whom were in Top-5.
On his own game and where he is, he said: "Parts of my game have been well. For instance at the (British) Open I created chances, but did not putt well and that has been the case at some other events, too. But overall I am happy with the game."
The man to watch out for will be Jordan Spieth, who is looking at a shot at becoming the youngest to complete a Grand Slam, two weeks after adding The (British) Open to the two Majors (Masters and US Open) he won in 2015.
Dustin Johnson, Brooks Koepka, Sergio Garcia and Jimmy Walker all of whom won their first Major in last 15 months will seek to double that number, even as two veterans Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, who have five and four Majors respectively, will both tee up for their 100th Major.
Rory McIlroy has not added a Major to the four he had won till 2014, but the fact that his last major was PGA at Valhalla will surely spur him on to make it five.
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