Thai legend Thongchai ready to rumble at the Royal Cup

Wed 25 Jul 2018

Thai legend Thongchai ready to rumble at the Royal Cup

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Pattaya, Thailand, July 25: Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee hopes to return to winning ways when he headlines the US$500,000 Royal Cup which gets underway on Thursday.

The 48-year-old Thai hopes to end a title drought since his last professional win two years ago in France. The last time he tasted success on home soil was in 2006, and he is relishing the opportunity to contend for the prestigious trophy against the young and upcoming Asian Tour stars at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club.

The Royal Cup will be Thongchai’s first tournament in Thailand this season after playing mostly in Europe where he enjoyed one top-10 result.

Defending champion Shiv Kapur returns to his favourite hunting ground where he won the Royal Cup last year for his third victory in 2017. He admits that he is struggling to find his best form as he is still recuperating from tendinitis in his right wrist.

Young Thai Phachara Khongwatmai is hoping to shine in front of the home crowd. He is working with his new coach Jamie, and will adopt a patient approach as he searches for a first Asian Tour title.

The Royal Cup is held in conjunction with His Majesty King Rama X’s 66th birthday which falls on Saturday.

Did you know?

  • Thongchai Jaidee is the highest earning golfer on the Asian Tour, surpassing US$5 million in career earnings since his debut in 1999.
  • Thongchai is regarded as one of the Asian Tour’s most decorated players thanks to an unprecedented three Order of Merit crowns and 13 career victories.
  • His last win on homeground was at the Volvo Masters of Asia 2006 where he won with an 11-under-par 277 total.
  • Shiv Kapur enjoyed his best season on the Asian Tour in 2017 when he became the only player to win three times on the Asian Tour that year.
  • Kapur is currently 39th on the Habitat for Humanity standings. He finished 10th on the Order of Merit in 2017 following his win at the Royal Cup.
  • Shiv’s daughter Veda, has watched him play four times on Tour already and will celebrate her first birthday on the 8th of August.
  • Phachara Khongwatmai was a member of Team Asia at the 2018 EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM where he won his fourball and foursome match with partner Hideto Tanihara of Japan.
  • Phachara’s best finish on the Asian Tour this year was a tied-12th at the GS Caltex Maekyung Open.
  • He has had four wins on the All Thailand Golf Tour and his most recent victory on homesoil was at the 19th Singha Masters this year.
  • The Thai became the youngest winner of a professional tournament when he won the Singha Hua Hin Open in 2013 as an amateur at the age of 14 years old.

Player’s quotes:

Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)

I feel great to be back home after playing in Europe all year. The Royal Trophy is an important tournament for Thai players and I just want to show my support for home events. I want this tournament to come back every year and provide opportunities for these young professionals.

My year hasn’t been bad, I have been travelling so much but I am still enjoying the competition, so I still give my best no matter where I am.

I admit it is harder to win tournaments now with all the young players coming up so I just try and enjoy myself and my time on tour. The most important thing is to enjoy playing at my age.

I’ve played so many years and with all my experience I want to share it with all these younger players. I watched them grow from young juniors and they all just need more experience if they want to start winning tournaments.

It is so difficult right now since everyone is playing well and it is way more competitive than my time. Work ethic is very important and working out in golf now plays a bigger emphasis than before. There is all these new equipment and new technology so improving is easy if you put your mind to it.

Shiv Kapur (Ind)

It has been a pretty frustrating couple of months with my injuries, so to come back to a place where I have had success is great. It has only been six months so the positive memories are still fresh. This golf course sets up well for my eye so when I stand on the tee box I have definitive lines that I want to hit. Pretty optimistic about the week.

I am not at a 100% right now. I have tendinitis so it doesn’t go away overnight. I’d like to block it (injuries) out of my mind and just play my game. It doesn’t affect me in my golf swing so my results do not get affected, it is just something I need to protect so that it doesn’t flare up and become a bigger injury.

I have a bit of an advantage knowing that I have done it before. Walking through those doors just gives me a spring in my step. Coming back to defend a title is not something you get to do everyday in your career and this is a special year for me with two events to defend my title.

I don’t think there is an added pressure being the defending champion, obviously people expect you to do well, I expect myself to do well. But I think of it as, if you’ve done it once before then you can do it again, it’s just about finding the right form. I hope this week will be the turnaround for me and kickstart the rest of my season.

Phachara Khongwatmai (Tha)

I am happy to be home after travelling so much around Europe. All my friends are here and I grew up playing golf with all these Thai players.

I don’t think about winning when I go into a tournament, whether it is an Asian Tour event or a European Tour event. I just try and stick with my process and try my best every time. The grass and the weather is so different in Europe so it was a huge transition for me. But I’m born here and I have played golf for close to 10 years now so I know I can do well on Thai courses.

My game is better because I started seeing a new coach in Europe. I’ve been seeing him for close to five weeks now and my swing is sounder since we started working together and overall, I am very confident with my game and excited to put up some good scores.

Ends.

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), Habitat for Humanity (Official Sustainable Development Partner), ECCO (Official Footwear Sponsor), Titleist and FootJoy (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.