Connect with us

Phuket

Thailand golf championship – a symbol of strength for Asian tour

Published

 on 

This week’s inaugural US$1 million Thailand Golf Championship reflects the growing strength of the game in Asia, say the world stars who have gathered for the Asian Tour’s season finale which starts on Thursday.

A starry line-up has gathered at the magnificent Amata Spring Country Club on the outskirts of Bangkok and will feature this year’s Major champions Darren Clarke and Charl Schwartzel, world number three Lee Westwood, Sergio Garcia, Kim Kyung-tae, Simon Dyson, Ryo Ishikawa, Charley Hoffman and the region’s top stars including Order of Merit champion-in-waiting Juvic Pagunsan and local heroes Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant.

“Golf is booming in Asia. There are a lot of tournaments here with big prize funds. Immediately after I came here, it felt like a big tournament. I think a lot of the players want to play in Asia,” said Westwood on the eve of the Thailand Golf Championship.

An Asian specialist where he has notched victories in Malaysia, Macau and Japan including at the Indonesian Masters and Ballantine’s Championship in Korea, Westwood will be looking to end his 2011 campaign on a high note by bagging a fourth victory of the season as he was also victorious in South Africa two weeks ago.

He will launch his campaign alongside Japanese star Ishikawa and local hero and three-time Asian Tour number one Thongchai. “I look forward to it. I like Thailand and playing in Asia. I’ve won in Korea and Indonesia this year. The course is fabulous and in very good condition but a lot tougher compared to a few years ago. I look forward to playing with Thongchai and Ryo, although playing with Ryo makes me feel old!” said Westwood.

Garcia, ranked 16th in the world after notching back-to-back wins in Spain in October, last visited Thailand some 10 years ago and has been impressed with what he has seen on his return. “It has changed quite a bit in the last eight or 10 years. Everything is evolving and growing faster and faster so it is normal that we will get a couple of new tournaments here as the years go by,” said the Spaniard.

Clarke, who started playing in Asia in the 1990s, said playing standards in Asia has also risen in tandem with the growing number of new events such as the Thailand Golf Championship.

“It has changed a lot since the last time I’ve been here. The golf course has been a lot better. The quality of the players such as Thongchai and Ryo are getting better and better. The quality of golf in the region is getting better and better. The golf course, preparations and tournaments are getting better as well. It is nice to have such an event to come and play in,” said the Ulsterman.

Westwood predicted that the staging of mega events like the Thailand Golf Championship, arguably the most prestigious in Thailand, will help encourage young kids to pick up the game in Asia.

“When you have more tournaments with world-class players, you will have more Asian kids see what are the levels they have to play at. 10 year old kids now can be watching this week and 10 years later they can be playing tournaments and that’s when you are going to see the fruits of this tournaments flow through to the grassroots level,” he said.

Organisers of the Thailand Golf Championship have taken various initiatives such as a charity auction which raised 2.5 million baht on Tuesday night as well as ticket proceeds going to charity for flood relief in the country.

Masters Tournament winner Schwartzel, whose Masters pin flag and putter raised 1 million baht at the auction, said the staging of the new full-field Asian Tour tournament would show the world that Thailand was getting back to normalcy after the floods.

“I think people around the world are seeing everything on the television on the floods. Hopefully this tournament, beamed around the world, will show that things are getting better and they will come back, spend money and help this country back on its feet,” he said.

Westwood added: “I think tourism is the main thing in Thailand as well and by having a world class sporting event, we can encourage them (tourists) to come back.”

About the Asian Tour

As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game.

The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognized pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia.
This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status.

Tour Partners include Rolex (Official Timekeeper), J.Lindeberg (Official Apparel Partner), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts), Cityneon (Official Event Overlay Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Royal Selangor (Official Trophy Supplier), Singha Beer (Official Beer), BlackBerry (Official Mobile) and Srixon (Official Ball). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.

 

Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Politics6 hours ago

Vladimir Putin officially annexed four parts of Ukraine

Transport9 hours ago

Phuket Airport officials pulled tourist from van, insisted they use airport taxi

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand’s strange laws – 10 strange laws in Thailand

Sponsored2 days ago

10 Best Seed Banks that Ship Cannabis Seeds Discreetly to You (Free US Shipping)

Politics10 hours ago

The long goodbye – Which way now for PM Prayut?

Pattaya11 hours ago

Pattaya Police Chief cleared of vice slurs, back on duty

Tourism11 hours ago

Reopening Thailand has a busy activity schedule

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Tourism11 hours ago

Today is the day! Full post-pandemic Thailand reopening

Pollution13 hours ago

Garbage in canals is worsening flooding in Bangkok

Weather13 hours ago

Hurricane Ian lashes South Carolina

Tourism14 hours ago

5-star squatters evicted from Layan Beach

Video15 hours ago

All you need to know about Thailand’s Vegetarian Festival

Protests15 hours ago

Anti-Prayut rallies expected across Bangkok

What you get for $X1 day ago

What $100,000 buys you for a condo in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya, Koh Samui and Hua Hin

Thailand1 day ago

Thailand News Today | Activists plan protests all across Thailand

Thailand1 day ago

Snitching on parking space hoggers could earn you 5,000 baht in Thailand

Thailand1 year ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism2 years ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism2 years ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Trending