The emerging strength of Asian golf was demonstrated when Team Asia pulled off a remarkable comeback to share with Europe the inaugural EurAsia Cup Saturday, and India's Anirban Lahiri felt the golfers from the region should now be given their due
Trailing 0-5 after the opening fourball session and 3-7 after Friday's foursomes, Team Asia, who was captained by three-time Order of Merit winner Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, dug deep and showed their fighting spirit by winning six matches and halving two matches to tie the match at 10-10 for a share with Team Europe the cup presented by DRB-HICOM at the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club.
Anirban Lahiri, who contributed with a two and one win against France's Victor Dubuisson, feels Asia deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the golfing powerhouses from Europe and US.
"A lot of the people wrote us off after the first day. I was reading a lot in the media and on Twitter and Facebook, and there was a lot of backlash. But I think all of us found that strength deep within us to come back and show that we are golfers as well."
"Everybody puts European golf up there and I think it's time Asian golf gets the credit we deserve," said Lahiri, a three-time Asian Tour winner.
Gaganjeet Bhullar, who enjoyed a convincing four and three victory over Denmark's Thorbjorn Olesen, aired similar sentiments.
"When we were walking off the 18th green, we felt a great sense of achievement," he said.
"Our results showed how far we have come. There was a time when we used to say we were from Asia and they asked if we have a tour. With this performance, people will know that the next superstars are coming from the Asian Tour."
Despite the lack of match play experience, Bhullar, a five-time Asian Tour winner, was delighted that Team Asia rose to the occasion and proved their worth on the world stage.
"If you look at the PGA Tour and the European Tour, they get to play The Ryder Cup and The President's Cup. For us, this is the first time we all have an opportunity to actually showcase Asian golf," said Bhullar.
"We're proud of how we picked ourselves up the last 48 hours. I think it's a great moment for Asian golf because it's put us on the map and I know a lot of people will now take notice of 10 of us and the Asian Tour," added Bhullar.