Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri says he did not expect to qualify for the Olympics, as his performance is lower than this year, but now wants to take it into account by returning with a medal from the Tokyo Games.
Lahiri on Tuesday cut the Olympic Games in 60th place, the last available quota according to the International Golf Federation’s rankings.
“It was a big surprise, I didn’t expect it,” said Lahiri, who is preparing for the PGA TOUR stop this week at the TPC River Highlands, Connecticut.
“Even though I’ve won it, I don’t feel like I’ve really won it, because I know how far below my potential I’ve played this year. It’s a gift and an opportunity, so why throw it away.”
India qualified for one place, and Lahiri ranked as the highest ranked golfer in the country in 340th place.
“I know what it’s like to be an Olympian like I did before (in Rio) and I don’t want to be just an Olympian. I want to win a medal, I want to do something that matters,” the 33-year-old said.
“I know winning a PGA TOUR event will do it, but winning a medal would do even more. I have a certain responsibility to the game and my country.”
The former Asian number 1 finished in 57th place in Rio while playing with an injury. But lately, some good forms have been noticed, returning after the recent T-25 final of the Palmeto Championship in Congaree.
This made him optimistic about his chances at the Olympic Games, which will be held at the Kasumigaseki country club from July 29 to August 1.
“When I found out for the first time, I called my wife and she asked what I wanted to do now. I told her how not to go? How not to represent my country at the biggest sporting event in the world?
“That’s why I’m playing the game … and having the opportunity to represent your country, not just the performance, because I feel like I’m playing really well.
“I feel like I’m close to playing my best golf right now, and for a lot of reasons it makes sense to me. That means everything I have to go for,” said Lahiri, whose latest win came at Hero Indian’s home. Open in 2015
After news surfaced that he had entered the top 60 list after several 11-hour draws, Lahiri was flooded with wishes and messages from fellow golfers and friends from home.
“I received so many messages from children playing the game now, saying ‘We’re so glad you’re participating, we’ve always watched you and go and be proud of us.’ Everyone has different motivations for doing this to make a living and much supports themselves, their families and their personal achievements.
“There is also a huge aspect for me personally that comes from everything I have received from the sport and all the love and support I have from my country. I am excited and excited. It is definitely something I wanted to do,” Lahiri said. .
This week, he will make his fourth appearance in the Travelers Championship, the ninth being recorded in 2018, and the share of 17th place in 2017 is his best result.
“I still have a lot of opportunities, including this week, to do what I have to do in the TOUR (to qualify for the FedExCup playoffs). It was quite a difficult year for me,” said Lahiri, who will play with Bo Van. Pelt and Harry Higgs in the afternoon wave.
“I started well in the fall and lost momentum on the West Coast and started building reserves and playing well with a good week in Texas (T5), and then I had Covid and I was pretty sick for four weeks,” he said.
Lahiri, who is currently 118th in the FedExCup rankings, is now struggling to stay in the top 125 to qualify for the FedExCup’s lucrative playoffs in August, and more importantly, to keep his TOUR card for next season. He has been participating in the PGA TOUR since 2016.