New Delhi: The toast of Indian golf after his historic performance at the PGA championships, Anirban Lahiri says he is no longer intimidated by even the best in the world as his self belief has grown exponentially.
Lahiri posted the best ever finish by an Indian at a Major with his top-five finish at Whistling Straits, bettering the ninth place finish of Jeev Milkha Singh in 2008 at the same elite event.
"To play at a Major requires tremendous self belief. That has grown and grown and now when I go and play with the best in the field, I am not intimidated, I am not overwhelmed, I am not scared. I believe when I am out there, I can beat anyone that I am playing," Lahiri told PTI in an exclusive chat.
"The stars aligned up at the right time for me. You work hard and you have to be patient, persevere. And it's important to play at big events with confidence, that you can be out there and beat the best," Lahiri, who dreams of winning a Major title soon, added.
Lahiri has shown remarkable improvement in his game of late and it reflected in his performance when he won the Malaysian Open and Indian Open, both co-sanctioned by the European tour, early this year.
"The biggest difference this time was my self belief, it has grown a lot, exponentially over the last 18 months."
Ask him how this self belief has come and Lahiri says one must have an insatiable hunger to get better for good results.
"Everytime you win, it contributes but it's about getting better. The goal has to be to become a better golfer. Drive the ball better, chip better, putt better. Think when you are on a golf course, have strategies.
"If you can improve, your quality as a golfer will reflect in your game. Ultimately you have to shoot five or six under or make birdies. If you can make birdies that's all what matters, it does not matter who you are playing with or where you are playing," Lahiri, who trains at Eagleton golf resort in Bangalore with coach Vijay Divecha.
Letting a peep into his training regimen, Lahiri revealed that he hardly takes a 15-day break in a year.
"Most of the time, when I am not playing golf, is spent on training, resting, recuperating, energizing and planning. The last holiday I took was for my honeymoon. To give you an idea, I probably take only two weeks off in a year. It is a very consuming profession. Every minute when you don't work, someone else is working and getting better and you have to keep that in mind."
Lahiri said his training includes gym sessions and Yoga.
"The training is comprehensive. It's not just golf specific, there is muscle training, mental training. All those aspects come together and help create a sportsperson."
Lahiri said knowing the golf course well is key to good performance.
"You can't really master the golf course, you can get comfortable and get familiar with it. You play with these guys who have played on these courses 10-15 times, it becomes harder to beat them. They know more about the course and know what not to do. You also need to gain that experience. That's what I am trying to do."
The 28-year-old also said that it's time that Indian government gives whole-hearted support to golfers since the sport is now a part of the Olympic movement.
"I just hope that look at golf as a potential sport now that we are also a part of Olympics. I definitely feel golf could do more with the support of the government whether it is in term of golf courses or player support. That we never had It will help our chances at Olympics and at Majors to do better at world championships."