Sentosa, Singapore, October 9: These days, Thongchai Jaidee is recognised by golf fans anywhere he tees up around the world.
The celebrated Thai golfer has enjoyed such a glittering career that in two years’ time, he will be eligible for consideration into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
As the only man in Asian golf history to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles, which is the pinnacle of the professional game in the region, Thongchai has also amassed 13 Asian Tour victories to date, of which four were events co-sanctioned with the European Tour.
In addition, the Thai legend has claimed an impressive four more victories on European soil, the last being the 100th Open de France in 2016. It is the most number of wins in Europe by any Asian golfer.
When he looks back at his career, Thongchai, who turns 48 next month, takes great pride in his achievements after rising through the ranks which included time spent as a paratrooper in the Thai army.
“The Asian Tour means a lot to me. I grew up with the Asian Tour … it was the road to professional golf. The Asian Tour made me and I’ll never forget the Asian Tour. I’ll always have a bond with the Tour,” said Thongchai during the filming of the Asian Tour’s phase two of its digital #whereitsAT campaign.
“Without golf, I don’t know what I can do. The Tour has given me a lot of things. It gave me more experience and gave me a good job to earn money.”
Thongchai’s success across the region means he currently leads the Asian Tour’s all-time career earnings list with over US$5.6 million in prize money while he has also amassed over €12 million on the European Tour.
Not forgetting his roots, the Thai has for years now funded a golf academy for underprivileged youths in his hometown of Lopburi in which he grew up in a two-storey wooden house during his childhood.
Thongchai, whose first club was made from a broken five iron head stuck onto a bamboo stick, will continue to support the Asian Tour with appearances across the region. He firmly believes the Tour will maintain its exciting growth and development, which has seen it expand its footprint to new destinations such as Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand.
“The Asian Tour is growing every year. It’s getting bigger,” he said. “I have a lot of memories. When I won in the Malaysian Open in 2004 (co-sanctioned with Europe), it changed my life. It gave me the opportunity to also play in Europe. I will always support the Asian Tour.”
About 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 recognised 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), Panasonic (Official Consumer Electronics), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), FENIX XCell (Official Apparel Supplier), Titleist (Official Web Partner), Bloomberg TV (Official International Media Partner), Bloomberg Businessweek Chinese (Official International Media Partner), Wall Street Journal (Official International Media Partner) and Sentosa in Singapore which is the Home of the Asian Tour which also has an office in Kuala Lumpur.
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