Lahiri plots title defence
Indian star Anirban Lahiri is aiming to successfully defend his Venetian Macao Open title starting on Thursday, saying he has overcome his Presidents Cup heartbreak.
Lahiri, the current Asian Tour Order of Merit leader, declared he is ready to launch a final push to become the region’s new number one beginning with this week's US$1 million event which has attracted a stellar field.
It includes four-time Major winner Ernie Els, 2013 champion Scott Hend, Chinese stars Liang Wen-chong and Zhang Lian-wei and eight of the current top ten players from the Merit list.
"It was a disappointing result but it was certainly not a disappointment," reflected Lahiri, who missed a three-foot birdie putt for a half point that could have altered the end result of the Presidents Cup.
"What we witnessed last week is exactly the nature of the sport. What I experienced was what Scott (Hend) had experienced here last year. We both hit good putts and it didn’ go in. Sometimes you’re on the receiving end. You take it in your stride and take whatever you need to do to get better."
Lahiri revealed he slept easily on Sunday night knowing he had stuck to his process and routine before hitting his putt. The United States beat the Internationals by one point.
“Obviously, you reflect on it. I thought to myself 'what did I do wrong' and I couldn't come up with an answer. If you can't come up with an answer, you can sleep peacefully and I did," said the world number 39.
"I followed my process, I was focused and I tried my heart out. I hit the shots exactly how I saw it, even with the last putt. There's nothing I regret but I feel bad about it as the team had worked hard."
After winning the Venetian Macao Open some 12 months ago, the 28-year-old Lahiri went on to win in Malaysia and India in February and has since enjoyed a magical season which included a top five finish at the PGA Championship and earning a card on the PGA Tour.
His goal now is to wrap up the Asian Tour's Order of Merit title and join compatriots Arjun Atwal, Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa as the only Indian golfers to have won the Merit list.
"It all started from here last year. It's nice to go a full circle. I know what it feels like to defend. Now, I feel the game is coming to where it should be. I enjoy playing on this course and in the last few years, I've managed to find a really good rhythm here. I played nine holes this morning, and I really felt comfortable. I didn't feel like I was coming back after a year. It felt like just yesterday, which is a good sign for me," said Lahiri.
"This is the beginning of an important stretch, not just prize money but also for a lot of world rankings. There are guys who can make a serious move up on the Order of Merit. This is when you want to get on a roll and start playing your best hopefully."
Defiant Lee Westwood does not believe playing in LIV should harm Ryder Cup hopes
Westwood doesn’t agree with penalties and sanctions.
Shane Lowry welcomes closer ties between Tours in response to threat from LIV
The PGA Tour and DP World Tour announced the next phase of their strategic alliance.
Padraig Harrington fears LIV series poses threat to future of DP World Tour
The US Senior Open champion thinks there is only room for the PGA and one other tour in the world game.
Steve Stricker makes Padraig Harrington sweat as Irishman wins US Senior Open
The pair were rival captains in last year’s Ryder Cup in Wisconsin.
Golfers warned of further sanctions if they continue to play in LIV breakaway
The DP World Tour has issued fines of £100,000 and tournament bans to its members who played in the inaugural LIV Golf event earlier this month
DP World Tour hits members who played inaugural LIV series with £100,000 fines
They have also been banned from several forthcoming tournaments including the Scottish Open.
Rory McIlroy not impressed as Brooks Koepka becomes latest big name to join LIV
The world number two labelled the players who have joined the new series as “duplicitous” for the way they have handled their breakaway.
R&A confirms LIV Golf Series players will be allowed to compete at Open
The 150th Open Championship will get underway at St Andrews in three weeks’ time.
Matt Fitzpatrick turns to other major winners for advice on dealing with fame
Fitzpatrick won the US Open on Sunday.
Brooks Koepka set to join Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series
Koepka’s brother Chase played in the opening event at Centurion Club earlier this month.