Lahiri-Thonchai a ‘perfect pair’ for President Cup
One is 28 and the other is 45 and yet they have a lot in common. Also, Anirban Lahiri and Thongchai Jaidee carry the burden of being the best from the most populated continent, which the legendary Jack Nicklaus, among many, calls as the ‘future of golf’.
Thongchai is a three-time Asia No. 1 and now World No. 32, while Lahiri is the current leader on Asian Tour of Money and is World No. 39. They are both now taking the European Tour by storm – Lahiri won twice this year at Malaysian Open and Hero Indian <g data-gr-id="53">Open,</g> while Thongchai won the European Open, besides finishing second at BMW PGA.
Their approach to life and golf is also similar – calmness. Thongchai is a Buddhist and Lahiri follows Vipassana meditation. Both have reaped huge benefits from it.
Thongchai says, “Definitely <g data-gr-id="52">its</g> (Buddhism) is in my heart. It makes me more confident. As a <g data-gr-id="54">Buddhist</g> I pray all the time before I play. That gives me good luck and also makes me something to play for the International Team.”
Lahiri relies on meditation and some have been asking him about it. He said, “Yeah, there have been a few people who have been curious. It’s a very individual thing. Everybody has their own techniques of relaxing or getting focused or whatever you want to call it. Everyone who is here this week, all 24 of us are great players in our own right. So there are some who will ask me, and I’ll be very happy to share, and there are some who have their own go-tos, and you have to respect that. So for me, it works. It’s something that I’m going to continue to do. And if there is anyone else who would like to find out, I’d be very happy to share it.”
Above all Lahiri and Thongchai are great friends with a lot of mutual respect and trust. As International Team captain Nick Price said, “I think both Anirban and Thongchai could play just about anyone on our team.” Price paired them with each other and said, “Both Anirban and Thongchai play a lot on The European Tour together. They have played a lot of golf over the last four or five years. They are both very good friends, and that was one of the compatible things that we wanted to do. But when I mentioned to them that I want them to play together, they were very excited about that. I wanted that enthusiasm and I wanted to see that -- I don’t know, that feistiness in them. They were really excited about that.”
The fact that there are five Rookies in the International team does not deter Lahiri. He sees that differently. He feels the rookies - Sangmoon Bae, Danny Lee, Steven Bowditch, Thongchai and himself, can provide the sparks for the International Team to rise to the occasion. He said, “We’re all young and we’re all fearless. We haven’t experienced the low yet when it comes to the Presidents Cup, and I think that’s going to work to our favour.”
US captain, Jay Haas, on being asked about pairing Jordan Spieth with Dustin Johnson, elicited a lot of laughs when he said, “That’s what he wanted. What Jordan wants, Jordan gets. That’s how it is (right now).”