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Lahiri sees Masters a great chance for himself and Indian golf

Anirban Lahiri

Augusta (Georgia): Anirban Lahiri has aroused the interest and curiosity of almost the entire golfing world.

Hailing from the world’s second most populous nation and coming with a record of four wins in 12 months, two of them in co-sanctioned events, his rise to world no. 34, had led to questions about golf in India, his own growth chart and of course what his performance could mean for the game back home.

The 27-year-old, who has had to change his schedule and travel plans by winning the lucrative Malaysian and Hero Indian Open had handled all this spotlight very well with separate media meeting at the WGC-Cadillac, Shell Houston Open and now the Masters.

Playing his fourth Major but the first Masters – he has played at the British Open and PGA earlier on – Lahiri admits,

“It’s obviously been one of those things that I have wanted to do, to be here ideally inside the ropes, where I find myself this year.”

“I think this is obviously one of those events that growing up as a kid, anyone who is playing golf or has watched golf, followed golf, associates the sport with and associates history with, and I am no different. So it’s a very exciting time in my career for me, great opportunities and really excited to be here.”

Getting into Augusta, soon after missing the cut at Houston, where he shot his first round in the 60s but still failed to make the cut, Lahiri, wasted no time in coming to the fabled course and getting a first-hand experience of it.

After playing 27 holes over Sunday and Monday, he gave his first impressions of Augusta National Golf Club.

“I think the first thing that hits you is how different it is from what you see on television, because that’s where I’ve seen Augusta. I’ve never been here. So some of those tee shots, standing on the tee, and I had my caddie with me; hey, this is more than five yards wide. It sometimes looks not even five yards wide when you look at it on television, like standing on the 18th tee, for instance.

“The first thing that hit me is how different it is to actually play, how different it is to actually be hitting those shots rather than watching those shots. It’s quite different obviously. It’s quite amazing and it’s a great feeling.”

Still gushing about the Masters and his earliest memories of the event, he added, “Well, I’m 27, so I’m very much a part of the Tiger era. Obviously that was the Masters for me, the year he came out and destroyed everyone else and the golf course, if I may say so. That was just– that was outstanding.”

“And for me as a kid watching it, among other millions of kids, that was massive. I have watched Jeev, who has played here three times, who has got off to good starts in the past and I think had a good finish (in the 20s). He’s even led the event for a bit, I think, on Thursday through nine holes or something like that.”

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