Golfer Anirban Lahiri returns to action after 'fatherhood leave'
Indian golfer Anirban Lahiri will return to action at the star-studded Genesis Open after a month-long break during which he and wife Ipsa were blessed with a baby girl. Lahiri and his wife announced the arrival of their daughter Tisya, who was born on February 4.
"Tisya's birth was the best thing ever in our lives and we feel really blessed. It does make me more motivated as I am back in action at the Genesis Open," said Lahiri. The 31-year-old Lahiri, who featured at the Sony Open in Hawaii and Desert Classic, missed the cut in the latter event. He then took time off to prepare for parenthood.
This week's Genesis Open will also feature all the big names including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson, Xander Schauffele and Jordan Spieth. Woods will be making his 13th appearance at the tournament and will play with Justin Thomas and Rory McIlroy in the event's opening rounds.
Last year, Bubba Watson joined Arnold Palmer and Ben Hogan as three-time victors in Los Angeles. Apart from Woods, the field's star attraction will be Mickelson who arrives fresh off win number 44 at Pebble Beach on Monday.
There is also news that the event at Riviera CC will receive elevated PGA Tour status for 2020. That means the winner will be receiving a three-year tour exemption, a higher tournament purse and a reduced field, from 144 players this year to 120 next winter.
That will put it alongside the set-up to Arnold Palmer's Bay Hill Invitational and Jack Nicklaus's Memorial Tournament. Lahiri was tied 26th last year at the Genesis Open at Riviera Country Club, and the year before that he was tied 64th.
In the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday, Lahiri will play alongside Americans Luke List and Sam Saunders. Lahiri, who has fallen to 167th in World Rankings, is aiming to get back into his rhythm and get into the International team for the 2019 Presidents Cup for the third successive time.
This is Lahiri's fourth year on the PGA Tour and is he still looking for his maiden win, even though he has come close to it. "I love the course and am all geared up for it," said Lahiri of the Riviera Country Club. "I feel at home on the PGA Tour and I feel my game is in the right place. But I am not stressing about the results." Lahiri finished 99th in last season's FedExCup standings following four top-10 finishes.
(With inputs from agencies.)
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