Anirban Lahiri lauds PGA Tour’s extensive plan ahead of restart
When the PGA Tour resumes with the Charles Schwab Challenge at the Colonial Country Club in Texas, one of India's top golfers, Anirban Lahiri will have to reluctantly be content with watching the tournament from his parent's home in Hyderabad.
After a 90-day hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour is set to resume on June 11, but Anirban Lahiri, who has been in India since March, will stay put in the country amid the travel ban imposed by the government.
However, the Indian golfer spoke highly of the efforts taken and the measures put in place by the PGA Tour ahead of its much-anticipated return.
“Hats off to the PGA Tour for being so proactive and putting a proper schedule out for the players,” he said in an exclusive interview with the WION website.
“The PGA is one of the few major sporting organisations which has released a detailed plan to get the sport up and running,” he pointed out.
Delighted with live golf
Anirban Lahiri has been part of the PGA Player Advisory Council for three years and was impressed by the Tour’s commitment in addressing the players’ concerns.
“I have been involved in some form in the decision-making process and it has been a very difficult period for the PGA Tour,” he said.
“It is good to see that there are signs of a return to some sort of normalcy, at least in golf.”
The competitor in Anirban Lahiri is itching to get back on the fairways of the iconic courses on the PGA and Asian Tour and has been planning for it.
But for now, the fan in him is simply excited for the return of his sport.
“I’m disappointed that I’m not going to be part of the tour right from the get-go, but I’m delighted that I’ll get to see some live golf again,” he added.
While the golfing action is set to resume, a plethora of the world’s top golfers will watch from the sidelines owing to the travel bans laid down by their respective countries.
However, the PGA Tour has already announced that all players eligible to play on the tour in 2020 will retain their card in 2021 – a move that was appreciated by Anirban Lahiri as well as Aditi Ashok, India’s only golfer on the LPGA Tour.
The new normal
The PGA Tour has laid down strict guidelines that include no spectators at the events and mandatory testing at various stages for all players, caddies and other personnel that will be involved in the tournaments.
“Hopefully, everything will go smoothly and the PGA Tour could also be a model for other sports to follow amid the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.
Players can have just one coach at the event, will stay in select hotels and are strictly prohibited from travelling with their families while on tour. The PGA Tour has also arranged for chartered planes for essential personnel to help the commute between the events.
“I must say that the PGA tour has left no stone unturned in trying to set up an environment where everyone involved in the tour can stay as safe as possible in the current climate,” he reasoned.
“There are extremely strict health protocols in place at every step,” said the 32-year-old, emphasising that all contingencies have been covered.