Kaufman blog: The true heroes

Wed 20 Nov 2013

Kaufman blog: The true heroes

  • SHARE
November 20: Read the latest blog from Asian Tour TV commentator Richard Kaufman.
It won’t be long until I’m flying back out to another Asian Tour tournament for the Indonesia Open. The events are coming thick and fast and there’s hardly time to catch my breath.
It has been an amazing few weeks for the Asian Tour and some of its star players. Honestly, I don’t think there have been back-to-back events as dramatic as the Hero Indian Open and the Resorts World Manila Masters.
I want to put those two weeks within the context of Henrik Stenson. He has long been a good player but his career epitomises life itself. It has its ups and downs, moments of despair and some wonderful highs.
Stenson is a golfer with an abundant talent who ripped his game to shreds when he looked a decent golfer, who then achieved much only to lose his way not just golf-wise but financially too. And yet he’s come back even stronger. The taste of his achievements must be even sweeter now.
I was in South Africa almost a year ago commentating on Stenson winning the South African Open on the European Tour for his first win in three and a half years. As impressive a performance as it was, I would never have guessed where the Swede would take his game over the next year.
To win the final event of the season on both the PGA and European Tours and end as the number one player on both Tours is astonishing. To step up when the pressure is on, when you could easily rely on excuses like tiredness and an injured wrist, shows remarkable resilience.
Winning golf tournaments is hugely difficult. Every week 150 players or so tee it up hoping they can end the week as champion. 99% of them go home disappointed. Look at the last two Asian Tour events.
Liang Wen chong of China Liang Wen chong of China
Siddikur led at three previous events this year going into the final round without winning before he arrived at Delhi Golf Club. You might say it is his fourth time lucky but how he was psychologically tested along the way as his four-shot lead disappeared. The DGC course played its part too but it was wonderful drama for us commentating and the fans watching.
And it happened all over again in Manila last week. An experienced and accomplished player like Liang Wen-chong went backwards from taking the third round lead to being four shots back. He had to dig deep to win the title in a play-off.
It wasn’t easy and golf is not meant to be easy. That’s why we love the sport so much. It’s why Stenson’s golf in 2013 is the exception to the rule. Why Tiger Woods in his prime was lauded so much.
To further Liang’s credit on a day where he showed guts, he then gave half his earnings to the relief efforts in the Philippines. I am sure you have all been moved by the tragedy the country faced over the last week or so.
Even though Manila was unaffected in terms of damage, nearly everyone in the country was affected one way or another. In my opinion, I think it was the right thing to go ahead with the event.
It showed that despite the country’s trauma they can still show the world that they will carry on. It’s easy to generalise but the Filipino people have shown remarkable resilience and an ability to smile under the severest of tests.
As wonderful as Stenson’s performances have been, as dramatic as those last two Asian Tour events proved... the real heroes were actually found elsewhere in the last few weeks.
Ends.