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April 1, 2015

Anirban Lahiri


AMANDA HERRINGTON:テつ All right.テつ Good morning, everyone.テつ We're joined today by Anirban Lahiri. No. 33 in the world after winning the Malaysian Open and Indian Open earlier this year.テつ Tell us a little bit about this week as the third Indian player to compete at the Masters.
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ Thanks, Amanda.テつ I'm obviously really excited about next week.テつ I'm really excited about this week, too.テつ It's a great opportunity for me to come out here and, you know, opportunity on different levels.テつ Great opportunity to try and get my card on the PGA TOUR, which is obviously one of my goals over the next few months.テつ Great opportunity to get used to the conditions that, you know, I'll probably get next week.テつ They've done a great job in setting this golf course up.テつ Everyone that I have spoken to who has played next week tells me it's pretty much, you know, 80 percent of what I'll get next week how they set it up this week.テつ That's fantastic.テつ Just in terms of being here in Houston and being at this wonderful event.テつ I'm really glad to be here.
AMANDA HERRINGTON:テつ Thank you.テつ We'll take some questions.

Q.テつ When did you first visit Augusta?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ That will be in the future.テつ I'll be there Monday.

Q.テつ Any reason why, just because of the schedule?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ Yeah.テつ It was always a question of when I would get in.テつ You know, the category that I got in off is the last category, and technically I just got my invite the day before.テつ But I kind of knew that I should get in by the end of February after I won in India.テつ But I was here in Doral for just a week, and it was important for me to go home and spend some time at home and pack everything up, because I'm going to be on the road starting this week for five months.
So, you know, I could either stay back at Bay Hill and go up to Augusta and make the five months into seven.テつ I chose to go back home and get a little more prepared for going out there.テつ So I haven't been there yet.

Q.テつ Can you tell us what it was like getting that invitation?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ It was nice.テつ You know, I mean, you have an anticipation, it's something that's building up, building up, and you try to push it to the back of your head and you say, "No, I got to keep playing well, it's not done yet.テつ I know I have a great chance, but it's not done yet."テつ Then you get to a point where you kind of let go and say, "Yeah, I think this is it now, I should get it.テつ When am I going to get it?"テつ Then you finally get it.
I haven't yet seen the invitation in my hand, but it reached the mailing address and I saw a photograph, a picture of it, and it's really nice.テつ It's one of those feelings that tells you, okay, it's happening, it's happening.テつ So, you know, it's fantastic.

Q.テつ Do you have a rough plan in place for how you look to get your card?テつ Are you going to be using sponsor invites after the Masters, the WGC in Augusta?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ The good thing is being in the position that I am right now is that I'll probably get into all four Majors and the WGC.テつ So that's eight events, eight really good events to be playing in.テつ Honestly, if you have a good run in these eight, that should be good enough.テつ But I've been fortunate enough and people at Shell, Mr. Timms have seen that opportunity and given me that opportunity this week for instance.テつ I'm hoping to get a few more chances like that.
Ideally I probably also get into The Players if I can maintain my ranking.テつ So that's another great event to be playing in.テつ And, you know, I've got 12 tournaments that I can compete in.テつ That's the regulation on the PGA TOUR.テつ I did play the CINB Classic last year in Asia off my Asian ranking, but that still counts.テつ So I've already played three, four events.テつ I've got another seven, eight events to go.テつ I have a bunch of chances in front of me, and a couple of good weeks should do it.

Q.テつ Is your motivation for being here this week more to get into competition the week before the Masters, or is it because of the conditions are similar to what you'll face?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ That's what I said just starting out.テつ It's good for me in so many ways to be out here, not just to get over my jet lag, which is ten and a half hours in time difference, not just to get used to the conditions at Augusta. テつBecause we didn't play on rye grass, which is what I'm playing this week and next week, to be ready for what is to come next week in terms ever set-up; to have a chance to do well this week and further my chances of keeping my card in America.テつ So, I mean, the number of ways in which it helps for me to be here is fantastic.テつ It's so many.テつ It's fantastic for me just to be here.テつ Regardless of what happens this week, it's going to be great that I was here this week and it's going to help me in the time to come.

Q.テつ What time would the Masters wrap up in India on TV?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ It would start -- the coverage would start close to 2:00 a.m.テつ I was talking to someone yesterday and they said you must have, you know, got a map of the course in your head and everybody at home.テつ The funny thing is, most guys in India know what the first hole looks like and they know what the back-9 looks like.テつ Because from 2:00 to 10:00 nobody really knows what goes on, because by the time they wake up in the morning and starting watching, it's either guys playing off the first or guys on the back-9.テつ I'm actually a bit clueless as to what the golf course is actually like.テつ So I'm just going to take it one step at a time when I get there on Monday.テつ Probably wraps up about 5:00 a.m, 6:00 a.m. in the morning.

Q.テつ So you would watch the back-9?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ Sometimes.テつ But if I've had a hard day at the range, I probably wait for the highlights later in the day or something.

Q.テつ Is there any strong point in your game right now that you hope to carry over to Augusta next week?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ I think I've been playing solid all around.テつ The last few months have been good in terms of all the departments kind of firing together.テつ It is different for me to, you know, get use to the surface ins terms of the grasses and the sand and stuff like that.テつ I definitely say my strengths have been probably in between my ears.テつ I'd say that I've probably been a really strong mental player and I've kind of learned how to use my various parts of my game and make them my strengths and use them to my advantage.
If I'm in a good frame of mind mentally, which I'm sure I will, it will help me to play my best.

Q.テつ For the next five months, is it just going to be perpetual hotels for you, or do you have a place you're basing out of in the States?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ Not yet.テつ I don't have a place yet.テつ Ideally by the end of five months, I should know whether I need to get a place or not.テつ And five months is long enough for me to figure out where I want to get to.
So, I think I'll be able to better answer that question in Augusta.テつ Hopefully, I'll have an answer in Augusta.テつ So, yeah.テつ But it's going to be a lot of hotels, lot of looking at the same suitcase everyday for a long time.テつ But, I mean, that's something that we do and we've gotten used to.テつ That's fine.

Q.テつ How much do you have to pack for a five-month-on-the-road journey?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ That is a really good question.テつ When I was home last week, I was thinking to myself I'm going all the way across.テつ It's going to be 20 hours in the air at least flying time.テつ And I've got this massive golf set, which is almost 30 kilos.テつ I can't really take a lot of stuff with me.テつ So I opened up my closets and I'm saying, oh, shit, I can't take these -- I want to take all six pairs of shoes.テつ I can't.テつ I want to take this jacket or I want to take that shirt, I can't.
It was pretty basic.テつ And I spoke to a lot of my friends who live here or who have lived here.テつ Just take your essentials and go buy stuff.テつ I've got a lot of friends out here in America.テつ I've already called them up, and I'm going to have a big massive bag deposited at one of their houses, stored somewhere in their corner and probably use that as a base, that little storage.

Q.テつ How much do you catch yourself thinking about next week, or are you just focused on this week?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ I'm not thinking so much about next week, honestly.テつ As difficult as that may sound for you to believe, I'm not.テつ It gets difficult to not think about it when you're reminded of it every five minutes (laughter).

Q.テつ Sorry.
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ Obviously, it's going to be a really special, special experience when I do get there.テつ I'm actually waiting for this tournament.テつ I've been here since Saturday evening and been fantastic, hospitality here.テつ Played the golf course a couple of times.テつ I'm really looking forward to competing this week.テつ Once the bell goes off tomorrow morning, it's going to be so much easier because I can get back to just focusing on, you know, playing this week, playing the tournament, doing my routines.テつ It gets a little mundane, but it helps because you kind of block everything else out.
Come tomorrow morning, it will get a lot easier.

Q.テつ Do you have some sponsors's exceptions lined up on the back end of the Masters, or are you kind of hoping your play at the Masters triggers a little bit more interest from some others?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ The good thing for me, at least over the next month or so, I've got a good schedule simply because of where I am in my world rankings.テつ After Augusta I play RBC Heritage because they do have a category for the people in the Top 50.テつ It's something that helps them improve their field the week after the Masters.テつ I'm going to go down to Hilton Head and play there.テつ Then I probably going to take a week off and then I play the WGC in San Francisco, which is again off my world rankings.テつ The week following that is The Players, which again has a Top 50 world ranking.
Just in the immediate future, it's a great schedule simply because of where I am and I don't necessarily have to ask for a lot of sponsor exemptions.テつ After which I go back to Europe, play a little bit.テつ And then I come back here, and that's when I'm probably hoping to get one or two invites before the U.S. Open.テつ And yeah, that will get me closer to my 10 or 12 events, and it will kind of give me a better idea of where I need to go.
So, yeah, that's what it looks like until the middle of June at least.

Q.テつ What do you like about the golf course so far this week?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ It's a good question, because the only two courses I've played before this was the Blue Monster at Doral last month, two months ago, and Valhalla last year.テつ Both of them were really hard.テつ And I'm not saying this course isn't hard, but it's definitely a lot fairer than the other two I've played.テつ It rewards -- it rewards good shots, and it's a very, you know, in-front-of-you golf course.テつ What you see is what you get.テつ I really like that in a golf course.テつ You don't have to, you know, look for trouble.テつ You either see it or don't see it and it just -- it's on you.テつ You can hit a good shot here and you will know that you'll not get penalized for it.テつ That can happen or that has happened on the previous courses that I've played.
In that sense I'm really looking forward to playing out here.テつ I think it's a great tract.テつ You get really challenged.

Q.テつ What are the type of grasses you're accustomed to play on?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ We play predominantly on bermuda.テつ It's tropical, hot weather grasses.テつ The only time I do play in bent is when we go to Japan or Korea because it's a lot colder up there.テつ We hardly ever play on rye.テつ And even though I am playing in Europe, I've predominantly played in Asia, so in Europe you probably get more courses, especially in the UK, where you'd be playing on rye.テつ But that's not something that I'm used to.テつ Last year I played at valhalla, like I mentioned, which had a lot of bluegrass, which I've never seen before in my life.テつ Played one event as an amateur in South Africa, where I played on kikuku.テつ So these are all grasses that are alien to me.テつ It's something I'm going to; have to get used to.

Q.テつ What's the biggest difference with rye?
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ How it sits up.テつ How -- I mean, technically speaking, I could go on and on.テつ There are a few minor changes that I need to make in terms of my technique.テつ Maybe minor change in equipment as well, as to how different equipment reacts to that grass, especially around the greens, which is where -- the main difference is.テつ If you're hitting a full shot, it's still a full shot.テつ But it's in your chipping and pitching where it makes a big difference.
In that sense there is a little bit of adjustment that I need the make, but I'm getting more comfortable, which is a good thing for me.
AMANDA HERRINGTON:テつ All right.テつ Thank you so much for your time today.
ANIRBAN LAHIRI:テつ Thank you, guys.

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