Anirban Lahiri who has won seven Tour titles, laments that he has not been home for Deepavali in 16 years and has come to accept that he can’t be home during one of the most important annual Hindu celebrations, but has vowed to make up for it this year. Pix by Hasriyasyah Sabudin

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Tour’s Anirban Lahiri laments that he has not been home for Deepavali in 16 years, but considers this a hazard of being a professional golfer.

“Unfortunately, professional golfers don’t have the luxury of Diwali/Deepavali, and all the lovely festivals that we have back home (Bangalore, India). I know my wife’s (Ipsa Jamwal) going to be with her family.

“I’ve got my father here with me (Tushar), so to some extent, it will be good if I can have some fireworks on the golf course,” he said.

The 30-year-old was in Malaysia last weekend for the eighth edition of the CIMB Classic, where he finished tied at 11th at 13-under-par 275 with two other golfers, including Spain’s Rafa Cabrera Bello and Peter Uihlein of the United States.

Anirban, who has won seven Tour titles, has come to accept that he can’t be home during one of the most important annual Hindu celebrations, but has vowed to make up for it this year.

“Last year, I decided to stay back, just to get used to living in Florida (and some other reasons), but this year, I feel like I need to spend some extended time, so I’m looking forward to that,” he said.

Having been on the road since he was 14, Anirban says there are a lot of things he misses about Deepavali.

“It’s nice that we (golfers) get to do what we do, so I can’t really complain about it. So in a way, it’s Diwali every time I go back, because I get to do all those things that other people get to do.

“I miss just being home, the culture, the fun you have when you go to each other’s houses, the sweets, the news clothes and it’s fun because it’s family time and it’s friends time. I miss that,” he said.

Anirban, who recorded three top-10 finishes on the PGA Tour last season, will miss out on Deepavali as he heads to Jeju Island for the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea from Oct 19-22.

“I’m going to play in Korea next week. After that, I’m going to be heading back to the US because I won’t be playing the week after.

“Then, I have Vegas (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open on Nov 2-5) that I’m definitely going to be playing. (There’s) a good chance that I will play in Mexico (OHL Classic at Mayakob on Nov 9-12) as my last event of the year,” he added.

Anirban is currently fifth on the Asian Tour Order of Merit; ranked 25th on the FedExCup rank with 70 points; and is 68th in the world.

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