Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Indian golf legend Anirban Lahiri has heaped praise on the Asian Tour and The International Series for the ‘phenomenal job’ they are doing ‘accelerating the growth of golf in Asia.’ 

The seven-time Asian Tour winner joins his LIV Golf League teammate Paul Casey at KN Golf Links, in Cam Ranh, this week for International Series Vietnam, in which 156 golfers from 28 nations will compete for the US$ 2 million total prize purse. It will be the former Olympian’s second International Series event after the 35-year-old teed up, and finished runner-up, in 2022’s season-ending Indonesian Masters – an event Lahiri won in 2014, the year before he claimed the Asian Tour Order of Merit title.

Lahiri said: “I think golf has always been a very big sport in Asia – it’s huge for professional golf. It is probably even bigger for tourism in terms of industry. Because of that, there is infrastructure and a lot of golfers being produced. 

“Now with The International Series and LIV Golf coming to Asia, growing the game here has really become one of the main agendas and bringing so many of the best golfers to play in this region is going to have a huge impact. I won’t say ‘change’ but that’s where the boost is going to come from. It’s there, it’s growing, and I think The International Series is doing a phenomenal job of accelerating that.” 

With multiple wins in Asia, Lahiri can be considered an authority on golf in the world’s biggest continent, and he added: “If you ask the majority of golfers in Asia, or on this side of the world, they’re going to say, ‘I want to play on LIV’, and now there’s a pathway to get there. 

“Even outside of that, you’ve got 10 tournaments [The International Series], which you’re playing for pretty much US$ 2 million every time, which is a really good prize for that many events in Asia. It’s a huge leap.”

Joined by 13 fellow Indians in the International Series Vietnam field this week, Lahiri, who was born in the city of Pune, 150km east of Mumbai, is excited to compete alongside the players he looked up to growing up, his peers as well as up-and-coming stars. 

“Jeev [Milka Singh], Jyoti [Randhawa] and S.S.P. [Chawrasia] laid the foundation before I started coming through about 15 years ago. I’m in my mid-thirties but the guys coming through now are in their early twenties, so you have 30 years of age variance among those of us here this week.

 “I learned a lot from the likes of Jeev and Arjun [Atwal]. I can see that same transference happening with the roles reversed to some extent and I enjoy that as well.” 

Having won in India, Indonesia, Macau and Malaysia, Lahiri has his eyes set on a maiden Vietnam victory this week: “I’ve been playing well in patches and I’m just looking to put four good rounds together and get that win off my chest. It’s been a while coming and I feel like I’m close. That’s definitely the main purpose of being here. I’d love to get that W.”

Indian golf legend Anirban Lahiri has heaped praise on the Asian Tour and The International Series for the ‘phenomenal job’ they are doing ‘accelerating the growth of golf in Asia.’ 

The seven-time Asian Tour winner joins his LIV Golf League teammate Paul Casey at KN Golf Links, in Cam Ranh, this week for International Series Vietnam, in which 156 golfers from 28 nations will compete for the US$ 2 million total prize purse. It will be the former Olympian’s second International Series event after the 35-year-old teed up, and finished runner-up, in 2022’s season-ending Indonesian Masters – an event Lahiri won in 2014, the year before he claim the Asian Tour Order of Merit title.

Lahiri said: “I think golf has always been a very big sport in Asia – it’s huge for professional golf. It is probably even bigger for tourism in terms of industry. Because of that, there is infrastructure and a lot of golfers being produced. 

“Now with The International Series and LIV Golf coming to Asia, growing the game here has really become one of the main agendas and bringing so many of the best golfers to play in this region is going to have a huge impact. I won’t say ‘change’ but that’s where the boost is going to come from. It’s there, it’s growing, and I think The International Series is doing a phenomenal job of accelerating that.” 

With multiple wins in Asia, Lahiri can be considered an authority on golf in the world’s biggest continent, and he added: “If you ask the majority of golfers in Asia, or on this side of the world, they’re going to say, ‘I want to play on LIV’, and now there’s a pathway to get there. 

“Even outside of that, you’ve got 10 tournaments [The International Series], which you’re playing for pretty much US$ 2 million every time, which is a really good prize for that many events in Asia. It’s a huge leap.”

Joined by 13 fellow Indians in the International Series Vietnam field this week, Lahiri, who was born in the city of Pune, 150km east of Mumbai, is excited to compete alongside the players he looked up to growing up, his peers as well as up-and-coming stars. 

“Jeev [Milka Singh], Jyoti [Randhawa] and S.S.P. [Chawrasia] laid the foundation before I started coming through about 15 years ago. I’m in my mid-thirties but the guys coming through now are in their early twenties, so you have 30 years of age variance among those of us here this week.

 “I learned a lot from the likes of Jeev and Arjun [Atwal]. I can see that same transference happening with the roles reversed to some extent and I enjoy that as well.” 

Having won in India, Indonesia, Macau and Malaysia, Lahiri has his eyes set on a maiden Vietnam victory this week: “I’ve been playing well in patches and I’m just looking to put four good rounds together and get that win off my chest. It’s been a while coming and I feel like I’m close. That’s definitely the main purpose of being here. I’d love to get that W.”

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