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I feel much improved as a player: Anirban Lahiri

Thursday, 10 July 2014 - 6:35am IST | Agency: dna

Ace Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri tells Nikhilesh Pathak about his chances in the British Open and the challenges it throws. Excerpts:

Congrats on your marriage and the qualification for the British Open. Has Lady Luck smiled?
(Laughs) I think only time will tell. Good thing to happen is I will be playing in the British Open.

Compared to your debut season in 2012, do you think you will be better prepared this time?
I don't think I am better prepared this time. In 2012, my preparations started two months prior to the Open. I am yet to design my strategy. The call has come as a surprise to me. As of now, I need to call Shiv (Kapur) and others who have played on that course (Royal Liverpool) to get the gist of it. Their vital inputs like what to expect from the course can be handy. Having said so, I admit I feel much improved as a player compared to last time.

You have been having a good season so far. So, has the expectation graph gone up?
Certainly. Winning the Indonesian Masters and a good outing in EurAsia have increased my confidence. Expectations have gone up. But don't want to put undue pressure of predicting the result on myself. I guess most players do the same. Have been doing the basic things for years but getting fruitful results now (laughs). In 2012, I was tied 31st and would like to improve on that.

Do you need to have a different mindset when you play in a Major?
It is not about the mindset. You need to treat it as another tournament and not get awed by the situation. Best thing is to go and play your natural game. Of course, need to control your nerves as you are likely to get distracted by the presence of top players of the world. I feel comfortable on PGTI tours as I play a lot there. Same way if I consistently compete in majors, will feel comfortable there, too.

What has taught you more, first British Open or EurAsia?
It is difficult to say what has taught me more. Both are different in nature. One is a team event while the other is individual play. However, after EurAsia, I have started believing more in myself. It was evident during my Asia Tour events. British Open (2012) was a milestone where I met top players and got to know about the game more in depth.

Your rank has dipped from 64 to 81. Does it bother you?
Nobody has control over the rankings. They are the by-products of how you play. Play consistently, it will rise. There will be changes in the rankings if someone plays fantastically well. So, I prefer to focus on my game only. My rankings dropped as I haven't played competitive games for the past few weeks.

Shiv registered the best finish by an Indian at a Major last month...
I watched Shiv's game on television. He was simply brilliant. Nice to see someone like him doing so well. What he did was stick to basics and keep the ball in play. I need to do the same.

Will your wife accompany you?
Not to the British Open. She will join me later on the PGA tour.

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