Lahiri set for return at Torrey Pines; Woods lights up field

Lahiri plays his first round with Michael Thompson and Ollie Schneiderjans and they will tee off from the tenth.

Thirty-year-old Lahiri has had four starts in the season, but all towards the end of 2017.   -  AFP

Anirban Lahiri will play his first event of 2018 where the focus will be on the return of Tiger Woods, when the Farmer’s Insurance Open gets underway at the Torrey Pines.

The spotlight will certainly be on Woods, who returns to action for the first time since his appearance at the Hero World Challenge in December, where he ended ninth in a field of 18 top stars.

Thirty-year-old Lahiri has had four starts in the season, but all towards the end of 2017.

Lahiri resumes his 2017-18 season after featuring in four events in the fall where he enjoyed a T10 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia, tied fifth at CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea, tied 51st at the Shriners Hospital for Children Open and tied 14th at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba.

He is currently ranked 43rd on the FedExCup standings.

First round

Lahiri plays his first round with Michael Thompson and Ollie Schneiderjans and they will tee off from the tenth.

“I’ve already played four events during the fall season and got off to a decent start. However, that feels like a long time ago when you take four to five weeks off at the end of the year. It’s like a new start.

“I spent the off season in India, which I haven’t been back home for an extended period of time since we left for the United States in early 2016,” said Lahiri.

Spotlight on Woods

Woods, the 14-time Major winner is playing his first competitive event since the Hero World Challenge in the first week of December.

It will be his first PGA TOUR event in a year, and this return is buoyed by his optimism about a successful back fusion surgery.

Rahm is happy to let Woods steal the spotlight.

“The more attention you guys have on Tiger, the better for me, quite frankly,” Rahm said.

“Hopefully, I keep playing good and give you guys something to talk about, but it’s not bad that the attention’s on Tiger. It’s good for golf, it’s good for all of us.”

While Woods was playing a practice round with Jason Day and Bryson DeChambeau on the South Course’s back nine, Rahm was on the back nine of the North Course at Torrey Pines.

In the first round, Woods will play with Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The other big stars in the field are Rickie Fowler, Day, Justin Rose, Reed, Hideki Matsuyama, Phil Mickelson among others.

‘Break was great’

Lahiri, who was 51st at FedExCup last season, said the break he took around the turn of the year was great. He said, .

“I arrived home in late November and spent time with my parents, took a little holiday and one of my cousins also got married. It was nice to be a part of that celebration as I am usually the odd one missing.

“It was quite a hectic 45 days at home, where I was at five different cities meeting up with people. When I boarded the flight to Malaysia (for the EurAsia Cup) in early January, I was already home sick as India will always be my home.”

“More importantly, I got to spend time with my coach Vijay Divecha and with the big changes that have happened, we put in a lot of work. I have been with Srixon for the first 10 years of my golf career and to now move to Callaway was something I had to think through carefully,” said Lahiri.

“I was pleasantly surprised with the equipment Callaway has to offer. Moving to their golf ball was a big factor, and I was amazed at how good the new 2018 ball, the Chrome Soft X, performs.”

“Switching to 13 new clubs in the bag is a big change and a large part of my off season was spent with Vijay at his new academy in Amderbad.”

He added:“One of the targets which I have not achieved yet is to get my first win on the PGA TOUR. This is overdue and it is definitely something which is on top of the list.

Getting that win will enable the other targets to come to fruition on their own. I have come close, but I have not been in contention often enough.”

Lahiri has already played most of the golf courses on the PGA TOUR. He said:“It definitely helps when you are going back to a venue for the second or third time. I’m also feeling more at home with everything else, with the players and how things work.”