Indian star Anirban Lahiri is ready to slay his demons at TPC Sawgrass and become third time lucky at The Players Championship starting on Thursday.
The 30-year-old is hell-bent on contending in the PGA Tour’s US$11 million flagship tournament after missing the halfway cut here twice, including last year where he made a calamitous 10 on the par-4 18th hole after finding the water three times.
This year’s field features each of the top 50 players in the world, headlined by World No 1 Dustin Johnson, current FedExCup points leader Justin Thomas, last week’s champion Jason Day, Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and defending champion Si Woo Kim.
“I’m definitely looking forward to this week. I think I’ve got some demons to exorcise. Played pretty well last year except for 18 and it’ll be nice to get back out there and exact some revenge. I feel I can play good on this golf course. It’s also good I’ve already played here a few times, I know what to do, know what the conditions are and know where the misses should be. It’s a week where I feel well prepared for,” said Lahiri, a two-time Presidents Cup International Team member.
Lahiri has decided he will pull out his 2-iron when he steps onto the 18th tee of the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass, which has water on the left all the way to the green.
“I don’t even remember if it was an eight, 10 or a 12! It was a big number,” he said. “I’ve already decided I’ll hit 2-iron off that tee regardless of the pin and regardless of the wind.
“There are holes that don’t fit your eye and you’ve got to adjust. If you shoot a three there, it’s a bonus but I’ll be aiming for a four. There may be an occasion I might have to hit driver if I’m in contention or if I’m one back.”
After starting the 2017-18 PGA Tour Season strongly with two early top-10s in Malaysia and South Korea, Lahiri’s form has been patchy over the past four months which he attributed to his inability to score as reflected by his low 161st ranking in the Strokes Gained: Total statistic. He knows a strong week at The Players can help him turn his season around.
“I feel a lot of departments are working but my scoring hasn’t been as good as I would like it to be. That’s where I’m going to be focusing on my work over the next two days here, in and around the greens and working on getting the speed right on the greens and making sure I’m comfortable with some of the shots that you get around here,” said Lahiri, who has not broken par in four rounds at TPC Sawgrass.
“This golf course, the field, everything out here and the way it’s set up and the way it’s run, the PGA Tour does a fabulous job. It’s a great privilege for the PGA Tour members to be here. It’s great we have that opportunity.”