Lessons from a slump give Lahiri hope

Lessons from a slump give Lahiri hope

A recharged and refreshed Anirban Lahiri is determined on overturning his slump and resurrect his career this season. AFP

Along with the highs, lows are an integral part of an athlete’s career. The last two years have been nothing but brutal for Anirban Lahiri, once India’s foremost golfers but who now was slipped way down the pecking order.

The 33-year-old missed eight cuts out of 13 events he competed in a coronavirus-truncated 2019-2020 PGA Tour season. In the previous season, he managed just two top-25 finishes as he struggled for consistency, something which was a habit for him ever since he turned pro in 2007.

Still India’s lone representative on the PGA Tour, Lahiri, keen to overturn the slump, said the trying period taught him a lot of lessons. “It's definitely frustrating, but when I look back, I mean, I've learned some really, really tough lessons,” Lahiri said in a conference call to select Indian reporters from Bermuda.

“I've realised a lot of things. I think golf, everybody says, is a good reflection of life and I think the last one and a half years is a clear example of that. So a lot of things on my end didn't change, but obviously the results didn't go my way. I wasn't playing very well, I was obviously not doing some of the things that I needed to do.

“But it's a learning experience. I would like to think that it's behind me now and I don't want to really dwell on it except to learn from it. So I'm just focused now on what I need to do going forward. I think it's more about what I need to do going forward and how I use that experience, not just the frustrating years, but the years that gave me a lot of joy and a lot of confidence.”

Lahiri has made a decent start in three events this season, finishing tied-sixth at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship, his second event. Lahiri said he’s keen on building the momentum and resurrect his game. “I got off to a good start, but it's all about building that momentum going forward. The idea's going to be to build on that, build on that confidence and belief and snowball it into getting into contention more often. I have to think that way and stop looking at the past. Yeah, that's my attitude at the moment and that's what I'm looking forward to.”

A lot of athletes have spoken about the difficulties of living in a bio-bubble and the hardships of travelling and competing during a pandemic. Lahiri, though, said it doesn’t affect him once he steps on the tee box. “I think once you get to the first tee and you tee off, it really doesn't matter. For those few hours we're kind of transported. There could be a nuclear holocaust somewhere -- hopefully that never happens -- but we would be completely unaware and completely zoned into what we're doing. Unless there's something going on in front of us where we are, I don't see anything really affecting us mentally.”

“It's part and parcel of how we need to go on with how we do our business right now. So it's not really something that anyone of us is going to complain or whine or feel bad about. I think all of us feel very fortunate that we're doing what we're doing and we're continuing to play and also further our careers. So really it pales in comparison to the opportunity we have.”