Golfer Anirban Lahiri targets Olympic spot: ‘I can’t cry about it, it’s upto me’ | Golf News

Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri eyes Olympic 2024 spot

Anirban Lahiri, a former World No. 33 and one of India’s top golfers, has had many reasons to be content with his move away from the professional tours to the Saudi-backed upstart LIV Golf tour. Financial security, fixed schedule, and ‘work-life balance’ are some.

However, the move is now coming in the way of his next goal – to represent India at the Olympics again.

Since playing on the LIV tour does not grant world ranking points, Lahiri, who moved away from competing on the PGA Tour in the US to LIV in 2022, only has an outside chance to be on the flight to Paris in the summer.

Only 60 players will make it to the Olympics golf event decided by the Olympic Golf Ranking (OGR) based on world rankings. The top 15 players (maximum of four per country) receive automatic entry, and outside the top 15, a maximum of two players per country that does not already have two or more players in the top 15, will make the cut. As things stand, Shubhankar Sharma (World No. 188) and Gaganjeet Bhullar (248) will represent India.

In order to squeeze into the Olympics reckoning, Lahiri, who is currently 401st in the world, will have to make do with the few opportunities he has. The biggest one presents itself at the 2024 Hero Indian Open in Gurugram this week, where he has been given approval by the DP World Tour to play in the country’s national open.

“Not much for me to look forward to (ahead of the Olympics), unfortunately. I will be trying my best to make it. It’s a big motivating factor for me, I would love to go to Paris,” Lahiri told a press conference here on Tuesday.

Festive offer

“Whether I play well or not (on the LIV Tour) does not reflect in the world rankings. That’s how it is, I have to do the best within whatever opportunities I have and that’s on me, I can’t really cry about it. When it gets fixed, how it gets fixed, does it need to get fixed – these are all questions for a different time.”

“There’s no point in speculation. It is what it is, and within that framework, you have to find a way to qualify. It might be a situation where a lot of really good golfers that could play for their countries don’t make it to Paris, and maybe that is what is needed for the world to wake up and say ‘we need to do something.’ There are many ways to look at it,” Lahiri added.

Despite the hiccup in his push to make it to Paris, Lahiri asserted he had no regrets about the move to LIV.

He later confirmed that the few playing opportunities he will have before the cut-off deadline for the Olympics in June will be in Asian Tour events, where even fewer ranking points are on offer.

That amps up the pressure for a good show this week from Lahiri, but the 36-year-old maintained that he is trying to keep his focus on immediate concerns. “At the end of the week, everything else just becomes noise. I want to go out there and win the tournament,” he said.

Lahiri’s last European Tour (now DP World Tour) championship win came at this tournament in 2015, and he finished second in 2016. The Indian maintains he is hungry to win on what is a very challenging course.

On Tuesday, three-time European Tour winner Nicolas Colsaerts described the course at the DLF Golf and Country Club as being among the “top five or top 10 toughest courses” he has played on, and Lahiri delved into some of the trying conditions.

“This is a very unusual course for India, a modern course unlike the old-world courses in the country. It’s almost more American,” he said. “There’s a lot of difficulty off the tee, the greens are quite demanding, if you miss the fairway, the roughs are very long, so you have to navigate all of that.”

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