LIV Golf's Crushers have big plans for India

ByJoy Chakravarty
Apr 27, 2023 08:27 PM IST

The Crushers team, of which Anirban Lahiri is also a part, looks to spread its wings in the near future

Bryson DeChambeau, captain of the Crushers team in LIV Golf which also includes Anirban Lahiri, revealed the team’s plans of opening driving ranges in India as part of their commitment to communities.

Anirban Lahiri of India hits a shot(AFP)
Anirban Lahiri of India hits a shot(AFP)

With Lahiri’s involvement, India will be a key part of Crushers’ future plans as the franchise looks to spread its wings in the near future.

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‘The Scientist’, as the long-hitting DeChambeau is known, sat with his teammates – American Charles Howell III, England’s Paul Casey and Lahiri – towards the end of last year and asked them what their top priority would be to grow golf in their respective communities.

Lahiri did not take any time to come up with his – building driving ranges and golf academies in some of the Tier II cities back home.

And DeChambeau, who is currently in the process of building his own learning centre in Dallas, was quick to see the merits in Lahiri’s recommendation.

“I want Crushers to go forever and to have its own entity. I want Crushers to transcend us all. I don’t want its identity to be ‘Oh, it’s Bryson’. I want this thing to grow into something special where it affects junior golf and their lives, education and impacting communities, whether it’s in India, the UK, Florida, or Dallas. We want to enhance the community, public works, the economy,” said DeChambeau, speaking exclusively to Hindustan Times at the LIV Invitational Singapore.

“I’d love to create driving ranges and academies in India. I know there’s a lack of space. Baan (Lahiri) talked to me quite a bit about it. I know land is very expensive. It’s almost impossible to get landfills and places like that in the cities. But I think that if there’s some sort of monetary incentive structure on their end, I think there can be an opening, and it can have a positive country-wide impact.

“I mean, India, it’s the country with the most people in the world. Going to school is very important for them. But how you enjoy time outside of that environment – like going out, getting on a golf course, hitting golf balls, to be with friends, and socially interacting – is very, very beneficial, too.

“Obviously, we got to figure all this stuff out first. I think you will see the first iteration, hopefully, in Dallas very soon, and then we can take that model to other places like India.”

Over the years, DeChambeau has divided opinion with his unorthodox approach to the sport. He has also accumulated a cult-like following, but he also has his fair share of detractors.

It started way back in his college days with his habit of submerging golf balls in Epsom salt water to find the perfectly balanced ones, to playing with single-sized clubs and then bulking up and hitting golf balls with such tremendous speeds that he ended up finishing second in the World Long Driving Championship. The move to LIV Golf did not go down well with some of his US fans.

“Well, it’s an ever-evolving journey. What I am today, is not what I am going to be in five years or even next year. And that’s what people don’t understand. Unfortunately, people have a misunderstanding about me that I’m all in it for myself,” said DeChambeau.

“I’m an intellectual, and I think differently. I can be polarising because of things that I say and do. I don't mean it to be polarising. It’s just who I am. I hope people can take more of a neutral approach and say, ‘you know what, let me take a dive into what he is doing. Because maybe there’s some truth there’. And I think it’s difficult to make everybody happy, right?”

Lahiri has been full of praise for DeChambeau’s captaincy and the way he is trying to build up the Crushers franchise.

“Bryson as a captain is great, but I think Bryson as a human being is something that people don’t talk about,” said Lahiri.

“As teammates, we’ve got to know him on a personal level, and I think he’s just an amazing person. He still is very much a child at heart. He loves doing what he’s doing, and he will give his 110 percent to that. And he’s obviously one of the hardest-working golfers ever.

“As a captain, he cares deeply about all of us, his teammates and the staff. He believes a lot in LIV Golf and the product it will be in the near future. He loves the innovation, and the new demographic, the excitement, the entertainment, that it brings. He is very committed. I’d say more committed than some of the other people in his position.

“And that’s what I like about him. He just tries a lot harder and gives it his best possible shot every single time.”

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