• Monday, June 17, 2024

Sport

Anirban Lahiri eyeing major glory ahead of PGA Championship return

The 35-year-old has got some excellent results on the LIV tour leading to an invite to the 2023 PGA Championship

By: Eastern Eye

After 15 years as a professional golfer, Anirban Lahiri has experienced the highs and the lows of a sport in which mere millimetres can separate glory from heartbreak and success from failure.

The Pune putter has made the big decision to uproot from the PGA Tour and his Florida base to take on a new challenge with LIV Golf – a switch that has allowed him to move nearer to home in Bengaluru.

The 35-year-old has already begun to reap the rewards, with some excellent results on the LIV tour leading to an invite to the 2023 PGA Championship.

Back to the Big Time

Major appearances have been thin on the ground for Lahiri in recent years, with a trip to the 2022 PGA Championship his only shot at a major since 2019.

However, the Indian will join the field at the 2023 edition too, and while the golf latest betting odds suggest he is a forlorn hope at 150/1 to lift the trophy, Lahiri is no stranger to exceeding expectations.

He almost produced a miracle win at the 2022 Players Championship – another event at which he featured in very few golf betting tips – when he led deep into the final round before a fantastic late charge from Cameron Smith ripped the title from Lahiri’s grasp.

That provided a launchpad for a number of better performances from the 35-year-old, with top-20s in Texas and Mexico followed by a tied-sixth turn at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Ultimately, this was a run of form that booked Lahiri’s place at the 2022 edition of the PGA Championship, and while he missed the cut there, it was a reminder for the 18-time professional tournament winner that he could still mix it with golf’s finest.

Being at home

After admitting to feeling lonely in America, Lahiri accepted an offer to join the controversial LIV Golf – a rebel, breakaway tour that attempted to persuade many of golf’s better players to leave the already-established PGA and DP World tours.

For Lahiri, it was an easy decision to make. He could leave the United States, move closer to home (he has since purchased a property in Dubai as a base outside of India) and play in fewer tournaments each year.

That new-found happiness has translated into some excellent golf. On his LIV debut in Boston back in September, Lahiri fired a score of -15 to make it into a playoff, where he eventually succumbed to former Masters Champion Dustin Johnson.

He returned to the Professional Golf Tour of India – where Lahiri served his golfing apprenticeship and won 18 times – at the end of 2022 to play in an invitational event to commemorate the legendary S.S.P. Chawrasia, again finishing in second place, before an outing at International Series Vietnam in April yielded another runners-up medal.

So taking the bold step of leaving the PGA Tour has, until now at least, yielded major dividends for Lahiri. He will be hoping to cash in fully at the PGA Championship.

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