Meditation, a brush with a career in medicine and meeting his heroes – just some of the topics covered by this week’s Hero Indian Open defending champion, Anirban Lahiri, in this Q&A. Read on to find out more about one of the European Tour’s all-round great guys…
Was there a moment when you realised you had really made it as a golfer?
“I can’t say I've arrived yet because I'm nowhere near where I want to be, but there have been good indicators that I’m on the right track.
“Whether it was getting on the Presidents Cup team, or finishing fifth in the US PGA Championship, these are all signs that make you believe stronger and more about what you want to achieve and do with your life.”
You have the Masters coming up in April -- the first major of the season. Are you excited?
“Oh yes, I’m excited to be going back. Last year was my first time, and ever since that Sunday I’ve been waiting to go back. I enjoyed my time there last year, and I feel really positive around that golf course.”
Have you been recognised by any famous players, like Rory Mcllroy or Phil Mickelson, without expecting to be?
“Now it’s commonplace because a lot of these guys are my friends. I think that was a phase that I was going through maybe two years ago. But I think with everything that has happened in the last 18 months or so, a lot of the guys that you mentioned they recognise me and they know me as a peer.”
What was it like meeting Tiger Woods for the first time?
“It was surreal the first time, absolutely. I think it was in 2014, he came to India for a day. I played some golf with him and spent some time with him off the golf course as well.
“That was very exciting, and a lot of fun for me. Just like the millions of other kids that he’s inspired, I am also a big fan and looked up to him and everything that he’s done, not just as an individual, but for the sport in general.”
You practise Vipassana meditation. How were you introduced to that?
“About 11 years ago my mother found out about it, and she did a course to learn Vipassana and it really helped her lead a better life. Then my dad was equally taken by the technique, so it was only natural for me to find out what it was all about.
“It’s a form of meditation which is very introspective. It’s not like you chant a mantra, it’s not like you visualise an object or an image or anything else.”
Does it help slow down your heart rate in big moments?
“Yes, it helps your ability to stay in the present and not get ahead of yourself. It’s obvious that when you are playing in a tournament situation that the adrenaline is going to kick in and your heart rate is going to go up.”
You still call Bangalore home, but given that you play on three different tours, how often are you actually there?
“Maybe 15 weeks a year. This year it’s going to be fewer than ten, I think.”
Was your father surprised when you wanted to take up golf professionally rather than follow in his footsteps as a doctor?
For Lahiri’s full interview with CNN, click HERE
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