Indian ace golfer Anirbal Lahiri added another feather to his illustrative career as he became the first Indian to qualify for the prestigious biennial Preisdent’s Cup in Incheon City, South Korea.
Lahiri, World No. 40, has made the International Team as one of the automatic qualification being finished seventh in the International Team standing, which ended on Monday.
Lahiri, who won the Malaysian Open and Hero Indian Open, is delighted with his qualification in the team, said, “I can’t describe the feeling because growing up, you look up to events like the Ryder Cup and feel terrible about it as you can’t be a part of something like that.
But, Lahiri is excited for the President Cup, which is as prestigious as Ryder Cup, as this is the only tournament Aisan players can aim for and it is an achievement to make the team.
Lahiri at one stage had slipped from the TOP 10 list, but his fifth place finish at the PGA Champoinships helped him to back into the elite zone.
Before Lahiri, another legendary golfer from India Jeev Milkha Singh had gone close to the qualification, but unfortunately injury halted him for the achievement.
“I know Jeev (Milkha Singh) was really close to getting in one year when he was in the world’s top-50 and unfortunately, he couldn’t due to injury.
It would have done a lot of good for golf, not just in India but also in the whole of Asia.”
He added, “I’m looking forward to being a part of the International Team. It’ll be a massive boost for golf in the region. You get so many eyeballs and everybody in America will be watching.
To be a part of something historic like that is extremely special. All I want to do is make sure that I get a point for the International Team.”
Lahiri has an outstanding record at World Golf Championship – Match Play and Eurasia Cup.
Thongchai Jaidee, another Asian who qualified in the International Team, is the first Thai golfer to qualify for the tournament.
Thongchai, currently ranked 44th in the world, has come close to making the International Team previously and was delighted to add another career highlight to his growing resume.
The Thai legend was the captain of Team Asia in the thrilling turnaround from behind 10-10 draw with Team Europe in the inaugural Eurasia Cup in Malaysia last year, where he defeated Graeme McDowell in the singles.
“It’s a proud moment for me. It’ll be the first time that a Thai player will play in the Presidents Cup. I think it can help the other young Asian players. When they see that I can get into the team, then they too will aim for it” said the 45-year-old, who holds 13 Asian Tour victories and has also triumphed twice on European soil.
International Team: Anirban Lahiri (India), Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand) Jason Day (Australia), Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), Adam Scott (Australia), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Branden Grace (South Africa), Marc Leishman (Australia), Charl Schwartzel (South Africa) and Danny Lee (Australia), Nick Price (Zimbabwe)
Team captain Nick Price will announce the names of two picks later on Tuesday.
Team US: Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Jimmy Walker, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Matt Kuchar and Chris Kirk, with two more picks to be included.
The Presidents Cup will be held at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Songdo IBD, Incheon City, from October 6 to 11.