LAHIRI'S FIRST YEAR WITH LIV GOLF: 'INCREDIBLE JOURNEY'
Anirban Lahiri has successfully met every goal he set for himself since joining Crushers GC on LIV Golf. Except for one – he and teammate Paul Casey have failed in getting Captain Bryson DeChambeau and Charles Howell III to join the Tuesday night Curry Club.
It’s been a little over one year since Lahiri made his sensational LIV debut in Boston as part of the three-man playoff, with 4Aces GC Captain Dustin Johnson claiming the title with an unbelievable eagle putt that smashed into the flagstick and decided to fall in.
“It’s just been a year, but it feels much longer, probably, because we finished two seasons in that time, and also because everything that has happened around LIV Golf during this time,” said Lahiri, speaking from his new hometown of Dubai as he prepares for LIV Golf Chicago at Rich Harvest Farms, Sept. 22-24.
“Even personally, there were some big changes … we shifted from the U.S., and then we lost my mum-in-law. There was so much anxiety when I made the move. We did not fully know what LIV Golf was going to offer, and I became part of a team, where apart from Bryson, I did not know my teammates that well.
“But it has been an incredible journey. I feel very lucky, very blessed.”
Part of that fortune involves his new friendships with Casey and Howell. Like Lahiri, they are veteran pros – and the trio provide a respected sounding board for DeChambeau, the only captain in the LIV Golf League who is younger than the rest of his teammates.
Lahiri is ecstatic about being a member of the Crushers, who won their first team title in the season opener in Mayakoba and remain in the running for one of the top-four seeds going into the Team Championship in Miami in October. In addition, the Crushers have celebrated two individual victories – Howell in Mayakoba and DeChambeau in Greenbrier after his 61-58 weekend.
“I won’t have it any other way after spending the last one year with Crushers. In hindsight, phenomenal is not a good enough word to describe how I feel. Both Paul and Chucky (Howell) are like brothers now. We are more than teammates, we are solid support systems that are so needed at this level of sports,” said Lahiri, who has two second-place point finishes this year (Adelaide and Bedminster) and is ranked 15th in the season-long individual points standings.
“Bryson has been an inspirational captain. Even when he was going through his own struggles, he was completely invested in the team and always asked about our well-being. He has been very open and inclusive. When we were planning a restructure of the team last year, he would discuss every aspect of it openly with everyone in the team.”
Since moving to LIV Golf, Lahiri feels his golf has reached another level and that he has become more consistent in all aspects of his game.
“I said this at the time of moving to LIV Golf, and I will say it again. I was happy playing on the PGA Tour, but living in the USA wasn’t suiting me well,” said Lahiri.
“Now, I am seeing my coach (Vijay Divecha) a lot more. I spend more time with my young family, and it has led to more focused practice sessions. I am much closer to my friends and family, which is again very important for my well-being. I think LIV Golf has helped me in that, but more important was the move to Dubai. My state of mind is much better, and it is showing in my results.
“To play at the highest level with LIV Golf is important for me, but I am also enjoying my outings on the Asian Tour and the time I get to spend with the Indian boys. It’s good for me and I love being a mentor to anyone who needs my help. That part of golf gives me great joy."
With the Official World Golf Ranking (OWGR) not yet awarding points to LIV Golf tournaments, Lahiri has fallen to No. 125 in the rankings. While others focus on the validity of the OWGR, the Indian ace and two-time Olympian is simply intent on improving his position with the limited opportunities he gets.
“We all knew this would be a bone of contention. Most of our players have fallen outside the top 50, when everyone understands that they should be inside that,” explained Lahiri, who finished second in International Series Vietnam and third in International Series England, which boosted his ranking.
“But I have made my peace with it. I know I cannot influence that situation, but what’s in my hands is that I play well whenever I get the opportunity to earn some points. The OWGR is important to me because I dearly want to represent India in the Paris Olympics (in 2024).
“I am hungry for the OWGR points, and it has become an added incentive for me to do well whenever I get to play an Asian Tour event.”
Lahiri was part of the 9-hole match that DeChambeau organized for his social media channels in Greenbrier against Phil Mickelson and Cameron Tringale. That success has led to a similar battle against Bubba Watson’s Range Goats in Chicago later this month.
“I believe golf needs to be fun, and so, the golf content being generated also needs to be fun and educative as well. If it is done by players, it should give fans a peek into their minds,” added Lahiri.
“I am on the same page with Bryson on that and when he asked, I was excited to be a part of it. But what came as a pleasant surprise was the amazing feedback we got from that and the quality of the end-product we managed to put together with just two cameras.
“It was a lot of fun and I am all for it whenever an opportunity comes my way.”
Lahiri revealed he is cherishing an additional responsibility that has been pushed on his shoulder.
“That brings us back to the Curry Club. So, whenever we go to a new city, one of my responsibilities is to find a nice Indian restaurant there,” explained Lahiri, himself an accomplished cook who posted several culinary videos during the pandemic lockdown on his Instagram.
“Bryson and Chucky are not that hot on curries, but the English and Aussie boys love it. Bryson is extremely regimented in everything he does, including his choice of food, so it will be difficult to make him part of this club.
“But Paul loves Indian and so do the Majesticks. Cam (Smith) and Rippers wanted to come out with me for curries in New York last month. It did not work out, but they want to do it soon. So yes, even without Bryson, the Curry Club is becoming the in-thing on LIV Golf. We will continue with our effort to enroll Bryson and Chucky as well.”
Joy Chakravarty is a LIV Golf contributor reporting on Crushers GC as part of his team-oriented coverage.