Anirban Lahiri thrilled at regaining full playing rights on PGA Tour

Lahiri last featured in the FedEx playoffs in 2018 and thereafter, could not keep his full playing rights after finishing 178th (in 2019) and 219th (in 2020).

Anirban Lahiri last figured in the FedEx playoffs in 2018.   -  AP

Anirban Lahiri is thrilled at returning to the FedEx Cup Playoffs and gaining full playing rights for the next season on PGA Tour.

Addressing a virtual press conference on Tuesday evening, Lahiri said, “It has been a challenging year and now I have the reins back in my hand. If I play well over the next few weeks, I can make the season look a lot better.”

Lahiri, 34, finished tied 46th last weekend in the $4.6-million Wyndham Championship. The cheque of $18,000 took his earnings to $930,661 and placed him 121st on the Fedex Cup rankings on the PGA Tour. The top-125 keep their playing rights for the next season.

In the 21 events that Lahiri played, he made 11 cuts, dotted with three top-10 finishes, with the best of third place in the $3.5-million Barbasol Championship.

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Lahiri now looks ahead to doing well in the first of the playoffs, the $9.5-million Northern Trust (August 19-22) in New Jersey. From here, the top-70 from finishers will be eligible to play in the $9.5 million BMW Championship. Thereafter, the top-30 figure in the season-ending $12-million Tour Championship.

Lahiri last featured in the FedEx playoffs in 2018 and thereafter, could not keep his full playing rights after finishing 178th (in 2019) and 219th (in 2020).

Underlining the importance of finishing among the top-125 players, Lahiri said, “Eligibility is a big thing on the PGA Tour. It guarantees you every start on all full field events, barring the invitational ones. If I do well in the playoffs, I can enter a few more 'bonus' events. Earlier, I would wait to get into some events but now I can pick and choose which one to play.

READ| Lahiri finishes 46th in Wyndham Championship; retains PGA card

“For a golfer, it’s a big deal. I have a job next year. For now, these next few weeks are really going to make a difference if I give myself  opportunities to do well.”

Reflecting on this fitness, Lahiri said, “It took me a full two months (post-Covid) to get close to my normal speed and strength. By June end, I started feeling better. I played lots of events, week after week. I had to manage my energy levels. As you know, Tokyo was hot and humid and took a lot out of us. But I am well conditioned. I am doing most of the things right to get back to my fitness levels of pre-Covid times”

Asked to reflect on his six winless seasons since joining the PGA Tour in 2016, Lahiri said, “I know I need to win. I know I have not played at my best. Since I played 12 PGA events before getting my PGA card, you can call it my seventh or eighth season on the PGA Tour.”

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