Anirban Lahiri can expect a stiff challenge from the strong field — including the likes of three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington — as he sets out to retain his Hero Indian Open title at the Delhi
Anirban Lahiri can expect a stiff challenge from the strong field — including the likes of three-time Major winner Padraig Harrington — as he sets out to retain his Hero Indian Open title at the Delhi Golf Club in its 52nd edition next month.
Besides Harrington — the 44-year-old from Ireland who won the Open Championship in 2007 and 2008 and the PGA Championship, also in 2008 — an enhanced prize money of $1.66 million (from $1.5 million) will add to the attraction in this year’s tournament.
Lahiri, currently playing on the PGA Tour, and Harrington will be joined in the field by some of the big names from Asia and Europe including Siddikur Rahman (Bangladesh), Thaworn Wiratchant (Thailand) and Mardan Mamat (Singapore) — all former champions.
The home field will include Jeev Milkha Singh, Arjun Atwal, S.S.P. Chawrasia, Shiv Kapur, Gaganjeet Bhullar, Rashid Khan, Rahil Gangjee, Himmat Rai and Chiragh Kumar.
“I am really looking forward to the Indian Open. It is starting on St Patricks Day. I played in India as an amateur in the early 1990s and it would be great to be back in India and see all the changes,” said Harring-ton, who is set to defend his title at the Honda Classic in the US from Thursday. “India has emerged as a strong golfing nation and the Asian tour has grown from strength to strength and I hope to be up for the challenge,” added the Irish golfer in a video message.
The national open, to be held from March 17 to 20, will be sanctioned by the Asian and the European Tour for the second straight year and EurAsia Cup director Charlie Tingey said the tournament would pave the way for youngsters to bigger tournaments.
“The Indian Open is a stepping stone to playing in the Majors or PGA Tour. Anirban Lahiri’s run in the last 14 months has been a testament of it. After winning the event last year, Lahiri has reached new heights.
“The event will give young talent a chance to compare themselves with the world’s best players,” he said at the launch of the event here on Tuesday.
On the increase of European Tour players competing in India, he added: “European Tour players loves to come and play here in India. They are adaptable to the weather and playing conditions here. But similarly, Asian players are making it big in Europe.”