"Ostracized" LIV Golf pro asked what will happen if breakaway tour fails

LIV Golf player Anirban Lahiri has reflected on his time with the breakaway tour and predicts whether the tour will be a success in a few years' time.

Ben Smith's picture
Mon, 19 Dec 2022
"Ostracized" LIV Golf pro asked what will happen if breakaway tour fails

LIV Golf player Anirban Lahiri conceded some of the criticisms of the breakaway tour are "valid" but believes the format could be as popular as T20 cricket in a few years' time. 

With all due respect to Lahiri, he is the type of player that only the staunchest of golf fans might have heard of. 

The former PGA Tour pro was firmly thrust in the limelight in March 2022 when he contended at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass. 

That event, you might recall, was won by his future LIV compatriot in Cameron Smith

Lahiri had never tasted victory on the PGA Tour before he made the switch to LIV, citing "loneliness" as a key reason for his defection. 

Now the tour's "beta test" season is firmly in the books and Lahiri has reflected on what life has been like with the rival league. 

Chief of Lahiri's concerns is the "hypocrisy" from the "biased media". 

In fairness to Lahiri, he was dropped by Hero MotoCorp owing to his association with the Saudi-financed tour. 

Hero is the title sponsor of Tiger Woods' PGA Tour event in the Bahamas. Make of that what you will. 

But back to Lahiri, who told Sportstar

"It has been a wonderful experience. Starting out, I had some reservations because I did not know what I was going into. I had spoken to my friends who had already transitioned.
"It has been fantastic, they have taken unbelievable care of us and the golf courses have been immaculate. The attention to detail is very impressive.
"I can't speak highly enough of how they have conducted the events and have taken care of the players."

He continued: 

"There are many different perspectives from which you can give the current golf scenario. I won't just single out LIV Golf.
"There are a lot of different organizations that are not necessarily taking the high road of behaving in the most amicable manner. LIV Golf has been very black and white with what they are trying to do.
"There is going to be a new format, there is a big change, there is going to be a big disruption. With that comes negativity, nobody likes disruption.
"Being a part of LIV, we almost feel a bit ostracised. I think a lot of the criticisms are invalid.
"Some of them are [valid], I understand. There are a lot of criticisms on the other side too, but nobody wants to talk about that because the media comes across as biased, let’s put it like that. Only time will tell where this goes." 

Lahiri's comments come as there is more than a bit of disruption behind the scenes at LIV Golf. 

Atul Khosla - hailed as a "guru" in his field - has resigned from his role as chief operating officer after allegedly having a furious confrontation with Yasir Al Rumayyan, the governor of the Saudi wealth fund that is bankrolling LIV. 

LIV are still without a TV deal which is seen as absolutely crucial going forward. They are also yet to announce new signees for the 2023 LIV Golf League

Related: Bubba Watson reveals his LIV hesitancy

Still, Lahiri believes that in a few years' time LIV could be as successful and popular as T20 cricket. 

He added: 

"In four-five years, if LIV Golf becomes like a T20 format and people start enjoying it, then it will be a completely different story.
"On the other side, if it does not come up on all their targets, we will see how it works out. Professional golf is in a transition phase and everybody needs to be patient and mature in how to handle the situation.
"All three parties, the players, the fans and spectators, and the organization, are three different stakeholders and they all have different views on the topic. We have to be sensitive to all of them." 

Next page: PGA Tour legal team deny "meeting" at The Match