Lauding India’s presence in the world of golf, Tiger Woods on Wednesday said that Anirban Lahiri can make the game "explode" in the Indian market by winning a medal in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Woods, who is playing host to Lahiri and 17 other top golfers in the Hero World Challenge through his Tiger Woods Foundation, said that the young Indian golfer has it in him to be successful in the Olympics, which will see golf being introduced for the first time since 1904.
"Anirban, I am sure will be a part of the Olympics and he will be great and hopefully he wins. That will be an explosion for all of India," Woods told Indian reporters in an interaction at the Albany Golf course here.
The veteran golfer, who has been battling a back injury and has been out of action for over a year, believes that after the success of Jeev Milkha Singh and Arjun Atwal, Lahiri is the new flag bearer of Indian golf.
"I got a chance to play with Jeev (Milkha Singh) in his first Masters and Arjun (Atwal); I got to know him all those years. They are my best friends. I got to know these guys are on a different level and have been lot of fun over the years.
What they have doing for Indian golf and now what Anirban is doing, it’s been fun to watch," said Woods.
Woods wished Lahiri, who makes his Hero World Challenge debut as a special exemption player after featuring in the Presidents Cup last month, on his future endeavours.
"What Anirban is trying to do is that he went from the Asian Tour to the European tour to the American Tour, that itself is very hard. That much of travelling is tough. Trying to figure out how many times he s going to play on which Tour.
"How much travel he is going to be doing? Where his home base is going to be? That will take a toll on you overtime.
Time will tell how he is going to cope with all these things and hopefully he does great. Getting to know him over the last couple of years has been fun, so I not only wish him success over this week but also in future."