Scott Taetsch/LIV Golf

For those out there who feel like giving up after that eagle chance lipped out or it took seven swipes to get out of a greenside bunker, look no further than Anirban Lahiri to inspire you to dust yourself down and give it another go.

The 36-year-old Indian, a seven-time champion on the Asian Tour, has had an impressive season so far in the face of adversity, helping his Crushers team take the top spot in the LIV Golf League 2023 opener at Mayakoba, before bouncing back from a disappointing showing at Tuscon with a runners-up spot at the International Series Vietnam behind Kieran Vincent and then matched that result at LIV Golf Adelaide in April, after starting the final round 11 shots behind eventual champion Talor Gooch.

“There have been some amazing strides on the Asian Tour,” Lahiri told Gold Digest Middle East. “I just missed out in Vietnam on the International Series and it is great getting to travel to all these places on the Asian Tour and also on LIV, with the likes of Singapore and Australia on the schedule.

Lahiri has had little time to relax as he is now gearing up for the International Series ‘UK Swing’, as well as having squeezed in LIV Golf events at Valderrama and a return to Centurion Club near London. 

“We are going back to England on both the Asian Tour and LIV Golf League, and then we have the wonderful bonus of heading to Scotland and St Andrews to play the Fairmont on the International Series, too, before we finish up back in Jeddah for the LIV Golf finale, where this journey all began really with the elevated PIF Saudi International joining the Asian Tour and really reinvigorating the tour.

“You couldn’t ask for more. We were in a rut with Covid, but thanks to LIV Golf Investments, the Asian Tour could not be in a stronger position, and then there is the added incentive of playing your way on to the LIV Golf League for 2024, with the Asian Order of Merit winner booking an automatic spot, while the next 30 or so go into a playoff for the remaining spots.” 

Lahiri is also loving the team bonding on the LIV tour, as he plays alongside Bryson DeChambeau, Paul Casey and Charles Howell III for the Crushers, who are fifth in the season-long team standings at the halfway stage, with the highlights being a win, a third and two fourth-place finishes. 

“LIV Golf is amazing, there is a real unity in the team with Casey and Bryson each bringing their own ideas and experience to the table, while Charles has been playing phenomenal golf with that win in Mayakoba to open the season and get us the double,” Lahiri said.

That team unity was something Lahiri leaned on — along with family support and his own resilience — as tragedy struck during that period in Adelaide.

Lahiri shot 66 and 65 over the weekend at The Grange, matching his 13-under par show (67-64) over the final two rounds at the International Series Vietnam the week before. At KN Links as well, he came close, falling one short of winner Vincent.

The two performances came after a couple of tumultuous weeks for the family, which saw him reach Vietnam without playing golf for a fortnight.

Lahiri was preparing for the LIV Golf event in Orlando when he got a call from India that his mother-in-law, battling cancer, had to be rushed to hospital after she took a turn for the worse. He immediately flew back to Pune to be by her side with his family before heading to Vietnam for the International Series event two weeks later. While there he heard the news she had been moved to palliative care.

In Adelaide on Sunday, moments after finished his round of 65, Lahiri discovered his mother-in-law passed away during the round.

“The last few weeks have been tough for the family. Mom was in a lot of pain the last few days. So, we’re just relieved that she is probably at peace and she’s in a better place now,” Lahiri said at the time.

“It’s hard to wrap your head around a lot of this. So just trying to process it right now. It breaks my heart not to be there with my wife Ipsa and my children. I’m here in Adelaide, but mentally and in spirit, with them. I guess these are some of the professional hazards that we have to deal with, and I am so very proud of my wife.”

Unable to return for the funeral, Lahiri instead poured his emotions into his golf and remained on tour for the LIV event in Singapore. Remarkably, he finished inside the top 20.

Doug Defelice/LIV Golf

Lahiri said his run of form was due to gaining a new perspective in life, and taking that to the course.

“I did not have any expectations when I reached Vietnam. The family was going through a very challenging phase. We were just taking it one day at a time,” he told the LIV Golf website.

“I was forced to hit the refresh button. You have to still look at the positives and try to receive the messages that the universe is sending. What happened the last few weeks made me kind of reset and re-establish my goals, my perspectives in life.

“I think mentally I’ve managed to just get clearer, more focused, and get more involved in my processes. Honestly, I am just counting my blessings and enjoying a new perspective. Probably, I am just playing with a lot less fear and probably not trying so hard and just letting go a little bit more.

“I’ve always found that a very hard thing to do. I think all golfers find that hard. But you know, the last couple of weeks, it’s come a little easier.”

The Asian Tour Order of Merit champion in 2015 is proud to be the only Indian on the LIV Golf roster, and is delighted to see the next generation of golfers coming through. Now at the age of 35, Lahiri is happy to help pass the torch to the likes of Shubshankar Sharma and Aditi Ashok.

“Jeev [Milkha Singh] held my hand through the Asian Tour and on DP World Tour as I was learning the ropes, and now it is my turn to help the younger players,” Lahiri said.

“Sharma has done some great things in the past decade with eight wins and is up around 60th in the world. He also had a great showing in Abu Dhabi [at the HSBC Championship] with a seventh-place finish and is showing the way for the future.

“Aditi is doing great things for the women’s game and has had some stunning results this year, with her win in Kenya followed by a third in Morocco and then a runners-up in the Aramco Saudi Ladies International behind world No. 1 Lydia Ko.

“The team events like the Aramco Team Series and LIV are really helping enhance the game on both men’s and women’s tours and it is an exciting time.”