Lahiri: Jeev’s experience holds key in EurAsia Cup

Non-playing captain Jeev Milkha Singh’s wealth of experience will hold the key for an underdog Asia against Europe in this week’s Eurasia Cup golf tournament, feels fast-rising Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri.

Anirban Lahiri won the Asian Tour Order of Merit at the end of the 2015 season.   -  R V Moorthy

Non-playing captain Jeev Milkha Singh’s wealth of experience will hold the key for an underdog Asia against Europe in this week’s Eurasia Cup golf tournament, feels fast-rising Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri.

The 29-year-old, whose growth as an international golfer has been phenomenal over the last 12 months, feels that it was the inaugural EurAsia Cup in 2014 at the same venue, the Glenmarie Golf and Country Club, which in a way kick-started his road to the elite.

Speaking on a variety of topics, the world No. 40, who begins his first full PGA Tour season from next week, feels Asian golf has matured in the two years since the inaugural edition.

He added that the non-playing captain Jeev Milkha Singh’s vast experience and knowledge of players on both sides, plus Asia’s rising might with six players in Top-60 of the Official World Golf Rankings, could put a lot of pressure on the European Team led by Ryder Cup captain, former British Open winner Darren Clarke.

The Europeans have hugely experienced Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter, established stars like Danny Willett, Shane Lowry, Victor Dubuisson, Soren Kjeldsen, Chris Wood and Bernd Wiesberger and young guns like Matthew Fitzpatrick and Kristoffer Broberg. Ten of the 12 European team members are in Top-60 with Broberg (65) and Ross Fisher (82) not too far behind.

Talking of his captain, who is a legend in Indian golf, Lahiri said, “I think Thongchai did a fantastic job two years back. But difference between the EurAsia Cup 2014 and 2016 is that we have a non-playing captain. So what Thongchai did two years back was beyond commendable, to play and captain is probably harder than anything else.”

“I think it’s fantastic to have Jeev at the helm. He’s had a lot of experience. He’s played in a lot of team formats. He knows all of us. He knows the players who are coming in from Japan and Korea, as well. So he brings with him a lot of experience, and apart from that, obviously he’s spent a lot more time thinking about his captaincy, because he doesn’t have to think about playing right now,” he added.