Equipment change helps Lahiri claim his best finish on PGA Tour in recent times

A change in equipment and nearly 36 hours of rest between the first and second round helped India’s Anirban Lahiri find his mojo at The Players Championships last week.

Lahiri, who had been struggling to steady his game for the last many months, found his range superbly and finished runner-up in one of the biggest events on the PGA Tour, claiming the heftiest cheque of his career so far.

Lahiri was one of the lucky ones to complete their opening round on March 10 and then spent indoors for the next 36 hours as rain disrupted the schedule, before teeing off for his second round in the afternoon on March 12. Lahiri went into the lead after 54 holes and it was only a bit of poor luck that resulted in him missing a chance to take eventual winner Cameron Smith to the playoffs.

“I was very happy that there was a big delay as I had been playing events for the last five weeks. Normally people avoid playing four consecutive weeks but I had to do that. So, the spent most of the time resting, doing my mental preparation,” said Lahiri on Wednesday during a virtual press conference from the United States to commemorate his superb performance at The Players.

The bigger impact on his performance was made by the equipment change had made just a few days before the start of The Players at the TCP Sawgrass.

Lahiri said he made some technical changes in his clubs, adding more weight a the bottom to make the clubhead a bit heavier.

“The fact that we made this particular change, which was changing the swing weight, so the balance. So the club head at the bottom and the grip at the top, I added weight at the bottom of the club so it changes the balance. You feel more weight at the bottom and that added weight at the bottom affects how the club basically interacts with the ball, how your hands release it, your physical awareness of where is the clubhead, is it light, is it heavy, affects how you swing it.”

“Those are the kind of technical and feel differences that an adjustment in equipment like the one I made last week (audio cutout) while you’re swinging the club or you’re playing. That’s why you don’t really make this kind of change unless you rule out everything else. This is the last thing you do. And we ruled out everything else. We double-checked every other specification in my equipment and then this was like the last kind of roll of the dice because you don’t really touch this,” said Lahiri.

And now that it worked for him, the 34-year-old Indian said he will continue with it.

“Yes, definitely I’ll stick with it in the future. This kind of changes are made not in the short term, these are long-term changes. Because they’re long-term changes, you don’t consider making changes like this very often.

“And if I made this change now, I would probably play the same weight balance at least for three, four years. So I change the balance on my irons now for nine years. For nine years I played the same balance, so why would I change it. That’s why the change was a big one and was something that, as I said, was the last thing to be considered. This was a big change, I made this change after 9 years. So now that I have made this, I am going to continue with this change,” Lahiri said.

The Indian golfer, who moved up to 45th on the FedEx Cup standings and ninth on the World Rankings, looking forward to a short break after playing for five consecutive weeks on the Tour. Lahiri will play the rest of the season more freely now that he has come up with his best show so far on the Tour. He will have fewer worries about extending his exemption for the PGA Tour if he continues to play as he did in The Players Championships.

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