When Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri travelled to his home nation to take part in the Indian Open in March, little did he know that he would be spending at least the next three months in the country.
Following the nationwide lockdown in India, the tournament was postponed, and the subsequent travel ban meant that he had to stay put in India.
Now, Anirban Lahiri will not be among the 148 players who will tee off on June 11 when the PGA Tour resumes with the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas.
It’s far from an ideal scenario but one that he has found ways to work around, by preparing for other tournaments in the PGA circuit and the Asian Tour, when it resumes.
“I need at least three weeks of practice to be tournament ready. It would be a mistake to jump into competition without preparation given the high standards,” the 32-year-old told the Hindustan Times.
“Besides, guys there are ready to compete as golf courses have been open most of the time.”
The resumption of sports worldwide is a positive sign and the Indian golfer will look to commence training to prepare for the remainder of the season as golf courses in the country open up.
Brushing off the rust
The 2015 Indian Open champion made most of his time back in his home country, spending time with his family at his parents’ place in Hyderabad.
Now, along with hitting the greens, the Indian golfer also plans to spend all of June to prepare for the tournaments ahead.
“A lot of variables have to be factored in, like taking a flight with 150 strangers to the tournament venue, standing at the baggage collection point with 700-plus people, taking a taxi to the hotel and finally (take into account) the sanitation levels at that place,” said the Rio 2016 Olympian.
Late window for Indian Open
Depending on the relaxation of the travel ban, Anirban Lahiri might spend the next few months competing in the United States and Europe.
However, the Pune-born Florida native might have to return to the country in late October to compete in the Indian Open.
The organisers of the event said that they have a tentative date in their schedule and will confirm that “as soon as possible.”
The Hero Indian Open would be no stranger to the late October-early November window, as the tournament was held at that time of the year from 2005-2013.
The event was then co-sanctioned by the European Tour in 2014 and was shifted to its current March-April window in 2015.
It was that edition where Anirban Lahiri won the tournament for the first and only time in his career.