Confident Lahiri upbeat ahead of RBC Heritage

Anirban Lahiri's mentality for the FedExCup Playoffs is to play his best and keep moving forward.
Anirban Lahiri's mentality for the FedExCup Playoffs is to play his best and keep moving forward.

Hilton Head (South Carolina), April 13. – When Anirban Lahiri tees up at the RBC Heritage this week, he will not have to look far for inspiration. He was overjoyed to see Hideki Matsuyama, one of his good friends on the PGA TOUR, win a historic Masters Tournament last weekend.

In addition, Lahiri, who is used to having his coach Vijay Divecha with him in the US for every 2 to 3 months, is finally re-united for three weeks. Divecha arrived at the start of the Masters week, which was an off week for Lahiri.

After struggling for quite some time before finishing fifth at the Valero Texas Open, an upbeat Lahiri said, “We’ll get to work on the other departments and just try and build. It will be nice to actually have him take over and have me think less and do more. It’s been tough the last three or four weeks just grinding, grinding, and grinding and working hard. So it felt nice to be rewarded by a nice week (in Texas). And now Vijay can add to that. Having him is a big change. It is a big difference.”

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Divecha, who will spend around three weeks with Lahiri, added “We work in the week of Masters, play the RBC Heritage and have another week off to work. Then let’s see.”

The confidence of a top-5 in Texas was timely and seeing his good friend, Matsuyama win one of the biggest prizes in the game, has been a big boost.

“Hideki is a good friend since we played on the Presidents Cup team. And we knew each other a bit from the TOUR before that also. Seeing him play the highest level and win the Masters was a big boost.”

Soon after Matsuyama’s magnificent win, Lahiri tweeted, “What a win! Hideki you did it! Time for all of us to step. So happy and proud of you my friend! #asiarising #gointl #Masters #greenjacket “

While Lahiri would rather have been playing at the Masters, a week off at home was a welcome respite. “It was really good week (in Texas), a solid week. Just generally, I think my game was rock solid tee to green. These last month 45 days, you know, going through that tough stretch on the Florida swing was not easy. I was hitting the ball terrible, lots of back and forth with Vijay and with videos and lots of instructions and application. All that work with videos being sent back and forth was great.”

Divecha’s mantra for Lahiri is to simplify things. He said, “He (Lahiri) would not have reached where he is if he was not good, but you should not try to do too much or too many things. That’s what we are addressing. Simplifying things.”

On how he tried to help from India before he flew out to be with Lahiri, Divecha explained, “We realized that there was nothing we could do. Without vaccines I could not travel. Once vaccination was announced, I made sure I got them to travel. From India, I was sitting on his shoulders and watching videos and using technology to guide him.

“I gave him a set of protocols. He would try and call me even at intervals of 15-20 minutes so we could discuss. It worked in Texas, but being there with him on the range is a different thing. For a player, being alone while working on some areas is not easy. It can be confusing if something is not working. It took time. Getting to where he was in Texas took us some time, now hopefully we can work on various things further.”

The RBC Heritage returns to its traditional post-Masters spot on the schedule after serving as the second event in last year’s Return to Golf.

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson who missed the cut at the Masters, a South Carolina native, will headline the field which also includes Webb Simpson, the defending champion. Collin Morikawa, current FedExCup leader Bryson DeChambeau, Will Zalatoris, who finished second at the Masters, are all also in the field. Other notables teeing include Patrick Cantlay, Tommy Fleetwood, Sergio Garcia, and Daniel Berger.

RBC Heritage LIVE: Day 1 will be LIVE on EUROSPORT and EUROSPORT HD from 00:30 Hrs (12:30 am IST) on Friday, April 16.

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