Anirban Lahiri: In Olympics, you play only to reach the podium

Anirban Lahiri opted for Olympics instead of looking for points to stay inside the top-125 of the FedExCup standing on the PGA Tour and retain his full playing rights for the next season.

Lahiri revealed this while addressing a virtual press conference on the eve of the $6.20 million John Deere Classic on Wednesday. “It was a difficult decision and an easy one, too. I know it sounds contradictory but that’s the truth. When I saw my name among the qualifiers, I was excited. But a decision had to be made. I sat with myself and asked, “Why do I play the game?” I saw that among my priorities is playing for a medal in the Olympics. I could not let go of this opportunity.”

READ: Anirban Lahiri makes the cut for Tokyo Olympics

In 2016, when golf returned to the Olympic Games, Lahiri and S. S. P. Chowrasia represented India. This year, Lahri will be in the company of Udayan Mane.

In the current PGA Tour season, Lahiri has made nine ‘cuts’ from 18 appearances. He has two top-10 finishes and four times ended in the top-25 bracket. With earnings of $706,101 this season, Lahiri is currently placed 119 in the FedExCup standings.

Asked about the difference between playing in the Olympics and pro events, Lahiri said, “In Olympics, you have a smaller field with no ‘cut’ involved. You usually play on a course which you are not familiar with. On the Tour, if you come fourth it is a very good result and you draw confidence from it for the next week. Even a top-25 finish is considered a decent result. In the Olympics, coming fourth means nothing. In short, it is all or nothing. You play only to reach the podium.”

Lahiri, who made a comeback on the PGA Tour in early May following a bout of Covid, revealed that Bengaluru-based golfer S. Chikkarangappa would caddie for him in Tokyo. “Chikka is a very good friend and knows what I do when I play well,” said Lahiri.

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