Lahiri to realise lifelong dream

Anirban Lahiri will realise a lifelong dream when he tees up at the Masters on Thursday.

The Asian number one will become the third Indian golfer to participate at the Augusta National Golf Club after Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal, and Lahiri is more than aware of the significance of his appearance at one of the world's most well-known golf courses.

"I'm very excited obviously as it's something every player wants to do. You want to compete, contend and eventually win. These are things that dreams are made of. It's going to be a very special thing when I tee up at Augusta National," Lahiri told the European Tour.
"Growing up, you want to play in all the Majors but the Masters and The Open are the two that are of special significance – one due to its history and the other because of its exclusivity and mysticism.
"The Open is a true open and anybody can qualify. The Masters is the other end of the spectrum where you have to be the best of the best with its steeped criteria to have the opportunity to play. These are the two Majors that have great significance and I'm glad that when I tee up in Augusta, I would have accomplished the first part of my dream which is to play and the second part, hopefully is to do well and win a Major in my career."
The 27-year-old has been in remarkable form of late, winning four tournaments in the last 12 months, including two victories in co-sanctioned events with Europe in Malaysia and India in February.

That run of form saw him move into the top 50 in the world, which in turn earned him a place at the Masters. At 34th in the world currently, he has been tipped by South African great Ernie Els as being a potential Major winner in the near future.

"It's important that I play well," Lahiri added
"If I can put up a special performance, that would make a huge difference. Playing in the Masters is quite difficult – you've got be top-50 in the world or win a PGA Tour event, or be in the top-10 of the Race to Dubai. To have someone qualify while playing primarily on the Asian Tour and co-sanctioned event, it's a big boost for someone who has the same dreams that I have.

"If I can do well, it will be a big motivating factor. Even I didn't think it was possible but it is possible. It was very much like when Arjun went to America and won, nobody thought it was possible and now, people will change their belief system.

"My goal is to try my best and do something like that …  make an impact not just in India but in Asia as well.  That's what inspires people back home.

"It's easy to get a little overwhelmed and overawed with the history and tradition of the event. It's a place of reverence, it's like a holy place and you can get lost in the temple.

"For me, the three days before the first round will be very important. I will spend as much time and absorb everything and get used to it. The faster I get comfortable, the more comfortable I will feel. I'll spend as much time there on Monday and Tuesday and get over the big moment of being there. My first tee shot will be a huge one. After that first few shots, how I can focus will be very important."