Han Blog: More than a white ball

Fri 01 Aug 2014

Han Blog: More than a white ball

  • SHARE
August 1: Watching football’s World Cup reminded me about the Asian Tour.
The drama in the World Cup is so intense and it is truly a global sport where 32 nations gather for a month of footballing extravaganza.
It somewhat mirrors all Asian Tour events where we have more than 30 different nationalities teeing off in all our tournaments across the region.
We are a melting pot of the various cultures and while everyone on the Asian Tour may have different beliefs, they share one common goal which is to win.
In the first half of our 2014 season, we welcomed seven different winners from six different countries, which is a great testament to the growth of the game on the Asian Tour.
Rashid Khan and Anirban Lahiri of India enjoyed stylish victories at the SAIL-SBI Open and CIMB Niaga Indonesian Masters while Lee Westwood of England made a winning return to Asia at the Maybank Malaysian Open.
Felipe Aguilar of Chile showed his knack of winning in Asia where he was victorious at The Championship in Singapore, seven years since his victory at the 2008 Indonesia Open.
Richard T. Lee of Canada, our 2013 Rookie of the Year, claimed his first victory at the Solaire Open in the Philippines and Marcus Both of Australia made a wonderful career turnaround at the ICTSI Philippine Open.
Thai legend Thaworn Wiratchant was certainly the toast of our front half of the season when he claimed an unprecedented 17th Asian Tour title. He is a great champion and his graceful performance on the golf course can be likened to Italian midfield maestro Andrea Pirlo but minus the beard!
The cosmopolitan feeling which we have on the Asian Tour creates a unique experience and buzz for sponsors and golf fans during tournaments as well as in the pro-ams, which is a fun preclude to a tournament proper.
In football stadiums, fans are confined to their seats and you are mostly away from the footballers whereas in Asian Tour tournaments, fans can watch the stars up-close and personal at the driving range or at the putting greens.
If you are fortunate to play in a pro-am, you can even ask for tips from our golf stars. More importantly, the experience of playing inside the ropes will give you a new level of respect for the professionals and how they play the Royal and Ancient game, which is not quite as easy as it may look.
The LPGA stars are lauded for their easy-going attitude and golf fans are often treated to an autograph or a selfie. I’m proud to say that the Asian Tour stars have also adopted this trend and most of our members take time to sign autographs for golf fans.
Take for example Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand. He has won an unprecedented three Asian Tour Order of Merit crowns, 13 Asian Tour titles and has two victories in Europe. For a man with such a colourful resume, Thongchai is very down to earth and very rarely turns down the opportunity to sign caps for his fans or even take a photo.
After all, one of the main essences of sports is entertaining and engaging with the fans. If not for them, golf would only be about a man and a white ball.
Ends.