Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri and Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee expressed delight on Monday (6) after confirming their spots in the International team to face the United States in the Presidents Cup, the first time the two countries have been represented in the Ryder-Cup style tournament.
Lahiri was assured of his spot after being the seventh highest-ranked international player eligible for the competition, while Thongchai was two places back at ninth to fall inside the top 10 automatically selected for next month’s event in South Korea.
“I can’t describe my feelings right now,” said Lahiri, who tied for fifth at the PGA Championship last month, the best ever finish in a Major by an Indian golfer.
“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 thankfully, we have The Presidents Cup for us to aim for, and it is such an achievement to make the team.
“This will be a massive boost for golf in India and the region as a whole.”
Former paratrooper Thongchai meanwhile said he hoped his participation would serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Asian golfers.
“It’ll be the first time that a Thai player will play in The Presidents Cup,” the 45-year-old said.
“I think I can help the other young Asian players. When they see that I can get onto the team, then they too will aim for it.”
Thongchai and Lahiri were among three rookies to make the International team. The third was New Zealand’s Danny Lee, who came in in 10th.
The American challenge will be spearheaded by Jordan Spieth and will also include Rickie Fowler, who pulled off a superb victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship earlier on Monday.
“To finally make a Presidents Cup Team, that’s always been a goal of mine,” said Fowler, who won the Kolon Korea Open in 2011.
“I’m one-for-one over there (in Korea), so I might as well go over and make it two-for-two,” Fowler joked.
Meanwhile, international captain Nick Price of Zimbabwe named South Korean Sangmoon Bae and Steven Bowditch of Australia as his two captain’s picks for the October 6-11 event in Incheon City on Tuesday, while US skipper Jay Haas called up his son Bill Haas and Phil Mickelson as his captain’s picks.
International captain: Nick Price
International team: Jason Day (Australia), Louis Oosthuizen (South Africa), Adam Scott (Australia), Hideki Matsuyama (Japan), Branden Grace (South Africa), Marc Leishman (Australia), Anirban Lahiri (India), Charl Schwartzel (South Africa), Thongchai Jaidee (Thailand), Danny Lee (New Zealand), Steven Bowditch (Australia), Bae Sang-moon (South Korea)