India’s top-ranked golfer Anirban Lahiri to join LIV Golf
Lahiri, who will be the first contracted Indian player for LIV, is a prize catch for the Series that has global ambitions.
Anirban Lahiri, India’s top-ranked golfer, is joining the much talked about LIV Golf Series and makes his debut in the $20 million tournament in Boston this week. Lahiri, who had recently finished second in The Players Championship, said his decision to join the LIV Series is an effort to achieve a better work-life balance.
Lahiri will be the first contracted Indian player for LIV (Viraj Madappa played the inaugural event in London after qualifying on the basis of his finish at the International Series – UK). The 35-year-old Lahiri is part of six new players who are being named as the Series’ new contracted stars. The list includes the reigning Open champion, Australia’s Cam Smith, and the young Chilean superstar Joaquin Niemann, who won the Tiger Woods-hosted Genesis Invitational earlier this year.
Lahiri is currently ranked 92nd in the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR). Smith, who defeated the Bengaluru player in an intense battle at this year’s Players Championship, the flagship event of the PGA Tour, is No 2 in the world. Niemann is the highest-ranked Latin American player at No 19.
Also reported to be making a move are Australia’s world No 62 Marc Lieshman, American world No46 Harold Varner III (who won the Saudi International earlier this year with a sensational 92-feet eagle putt on the 72nd hole to defeat Bubba Watson), and American world No55 Cameron Tringale.
Lahiri is expected to play all remaining tournaments on the schedule this year as part of Bryson DeChambeau’s team ‘Crushers’ and will feature in all LIV tournaments next year. “It’s a new chapter in my life and one that I am really looking forward to,” said Lahiri, who has 18 worldwide wins under his belt. “I have found the whole concept of LIV interesting and alluring. They have so many new things to offer, which is nice at a time when golf tournaments needed a bit of a shake-up.”
Speaking to Hindustan Times in an exclusive and in-depth interview on his reasons for making the switch, Lahiri said: “I see this as an effort to correct my work-life balance. I see this as a move back closer to my family and friends. I see this as something that gives me more time to enjoy my kids growing up. I know how consumed I was with my golf when Tisya (eldest daughter) was born and I was struggling to keep my card on the Tour at that time.”
Lahiri is a prize catch for the Series that has global ambitions. Asia is considered a major market, and LIV Golf also has plans to also ramp up their investment and backing of the International Series on the Asian Tour.
The 48-man field is divided into 12 teams of four players. Each tournament, played over three days with a shotgun start, has an individual champion as well as a team champion.
Among some of the big names who are now part of the Norman-fronted and Saudi Golf-backed series are Dustin Johnson, Phil Mickelson, Louis Oosthuizen, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Abraham Ancer and Ian Poulter.