|Picture by Prem Singh
New Delhi: Anirban Lahiri had once met Tiger Woods in Malaysia, but never had a chance to play against the legend. On Tuesday, when Lahiri got the opportunity to face Woods in the last three holes at the Delhi Golf Club (DGC), the world No. 1’s talent dumbfounded him.
“I saw him play only on the last three holes. But I think for him to come out and play here, he had to adapt to the conditions. It’s amazing how after missing a few putts, he could make eight or nine birdies… that goes to show the talent of the man,” said Lahiri after the exhibition event.
Lahiri said he found Woods to be a nice human being and a down to earth person. “It was good to know he is a nice human being. We all make him to be larger than life.
“He has done seemingly impossible things in the sport but I found him to be a good person in flesh and blood. Such things make you believe that you too can achieve such things. Meeting him was really inspiring,” said Lahiri.
Asked what Woods told him after the event, Lahiri said: “It was all very light-hearted conversation. Obviously, he was enjoying his time here. I think he had a great day and he had a taste of Indian crowd mentality also… he got the real taste of India.”
Lahiri was also impressed with Woods’ fitness and work ethics. “I think he has lost some weight since I met him at CIMB (Classic). No doubt, he works very hard. I was talking to him and found he was very particular about his food habit. Overall, it was an amazing experience.”
Equally delighted was Shiv Kapur, who, too, played the last three holes with Woods. He hit a birdie in the 17th and Woods appreciated the good shot and patted Kapur on the back.
“The birdie on the 17th hole was definitely a special moment,” said Kapur. “To be able to do it in front of the home crowd was a big thing. It was a fabulous experience.”
Kapur said he and Woods talked about food and the difference in the course conditions in the Dubai and DGC.
Sharmila Nicollet is the country’s No. 1 woman golfer and the youngest Indian to qualify for Ladies European Tour. Yet, she felt nervous while playing with Woods.
“Frankly, I was thrilled and nervous,” Sharmila said. “Playing alongside Woods was like a dream comes true. I will always cherish this day.”