Flashback 2010 Q&A with Kiradech

Tue 24 Mar 2015

Flashback 2010 Q&A with Kiradech

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Thailand’s upcoming star Kiradech Aphibarnrat has vowed fans with his big-hitting and aggressive style of game which is reminiscent of American grip it-and-rip star, John Daly. While a first Asian Tour title continues to elude him, Kiradech remains optimistic that a victory is looming. In this Q&A with the Asian Tour, Kiradech, a former world junior champion, talks about his goals on and off the course, the reason why he changed his name and the comparisons with John Daly.
1)      How did you start playing golf?
When I was eight years old, I followed my dad to the driving range for almost every day. It took me about two to three months before I actually tried to hit the ball. Initially my dad coached me and I became really good at it.
2)      What is the one thing you like most about golf?
I like the challenge. Golf looks easy but it is really tough to play. Although you are hitting a stationery ball, it is so difficult to hit and direct it to the pin.
3)      What did it mean to you when you were the World Junior champion in 2003 and 2004?
It was a big victory for me as an amateur but my main goal is to win my first professional title on the Asian Tour. I have come close on so many occasions but I have this feeling it will happen this year.
4)      Do people constantly remind you of your near misses and does that affect you?
Most of the comments I get are positive ones and they inspire me. Many of my friends and the Thai players always tell me to keep up with my game and never give up. They are also saying that I will win one title this year. I hope they are right!
5)      Did any of the prominent Thai players give you any important advice?
I practice a lot with Prayad (Marksaeng). He has taught me a lot of valuable tips for my putting. Previously my putting was horrible but it has improved tremendously after Prayad taught me how to putt on different types of grasses.
6)      A lot of people talk about your physique. Can you tell us how much you weigh and has your weight been an issue for you when you play in tournaments?
My weight makes me tired because I play more tournaments these days. But I’m exercising more often in the gym and my fitness is improving. Someone told me that my swing is better but it hasn’t changed at all. My fitness and exercise have made my swing more powerful. I currently weigh at 109kgs but I plan to reduce my weight by at least seven kilos. Previously I only work out when there are no tournaments but now that my schedule is packed, I take time off after my round to do exercises and that has helped a lot with my fitness.
7)      How do you feel when people compare you with John Daly?
People compare us because of our swing. Being compared with him is a good thing because he is a world class player and a Major winner. He is a good player and to be honest, it puts some pressure on me.
8)      Is it true that you changed your name before?
Yes, my previous name was Anujit Hirunratanakorn. I was advised to change my name to have better luck.
9)      Who do you look up to in golf?
I would say Lee Westwood because he struggled before he was the top European Tour player and fought to be where he is now. I admire his fighting spirit.
10)  What do you think of the development of golf in Thailand?
Golf in Thailand has improved tremendously. The Thai players are improving and if you see the local Thai Tour, the scores are getting lower. Even I have missed the cut there before so it shows just how much talent we have.
Boonchu (Ruangkit) is creating a lot of local tournaments and that has benefited a lot of Thai players. Thongchai (Jaidee) and Prayad have also made the game more popular now with their victories and success abroad.
11)  What do you think of Boonchu Ruangkit’s three European Seniors Tour victories recently?
He is such a great player. Even at his age he is giving us, who are much younger, a run for our money. He was also the one who advised me to lose some weight and to work on my short game. During the Asian Tour International (in Thailand) he came up to me and asked why I attacked the pin on the 16th hole which cost me a double bogey. He advised me on how I should have played the shot. He has always taught me valuable lessons. He is really the Boss of Thai players.
12)  What do you do when you are not playing golf?
I used to like car racing. But many people have told me to quit racing because it is dangerous! I have just sold my car (Subaru Impreza). I modified it to about 600 to 700 horse power but my friends and family asked me to sell it off. My dad was also a racer but both of us have since quit racing. I have came to realize that golf is my occupation and if I had an accident and got injured, I won’t be able to play golf.
13)  You have travelled to many countries, which is the most exciting country for you?
Malaysia! I played there many times and have done well there. I also won a couple of events in Malaysia as an amateur. Honestly, when you are on Tour, you don’t really have time to go anywhere except the golf course and hotel so you don’t get to see much of the countries we visit.
Ends.