#SingOpen Preview: What they said

Tue 17 Jan 2017

#SingOpen Preview: What they said

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Sentosa, Singapore January 17: Read what contenders have to say ahead of the US$1 million SMBC Singapore Open which starts at the Sentosa Golf Club on Thursday.
Song Younghan of Korea Song Younghan of Korea
Younghan Song (Kor)
Winning the first tournament of the year last year at the SMBC Singapore Open 2016 led to more opportunities in the year that helped me gain more experience and develop into a more complete player. Overall I love Singapore, I love the Sentosa Golf Club and I love Jordan Spieth. I was able to meet him at the PGA Championship later in the year and his locker was right next to mine, so I asked if he remembered seeing me at the Singapore Open. He obviously did, and took another selfie with me. So a lot of good things happened after my win and nothing bad, so I don’t feel any pressure whatsoever to defend my title. As you know, golf is a very hard game. It is not controlled only by me. If I try my very best, good results will come along, so just like last year, I’ll do as much as I can. The Serapong Course is a very difficult course with a lot of wind, so I believe that the most important part is focusing on my short game and putting. After winning the Singapore Open, a lot of good opportunities came and I got to experience many tours, including the PGA Championship. It gave me inspiration to experience more and take myself to the next level. I don’t believe that golf’s popularity is going down but to further increase its popularity, I think we need more stars like Tiger Woods. At the same time, I also believe a lot of young players like Justin Thomas are doing a very good job, so I don’t think there’s much to worry about for golf.
K.T.Kim of Korea K.T.Kim of Korea
K.T. Kim (Kor)
It wasn’t as good as two seasons ago but I’m still very satisfied with what I did especially the first period of last season. I’m glad that I’m getting used to my swinging form. To prepare for the Singapore Open, I’ve been focusing on approaching and my short game, but more importantly I’ve been focusing on my family and spending time with them to recover between training. The speed of the green at the Serapong Course is extremely fast, so what’s important for me is the tee shot on the fairway. There’s a lot of great players and Song is a great player too. I’d like to take this opportunity to develop myself and take it to the next level as well. Usually my issue is I don’t play so well at the start of the season, especially in January and February, so I’d like to focus more on that. By improving my performance at the start of the season, maybe I’ll have another chance to go to the PGA Championship.
 
Mardan Mamat of Singapore Mardan Mamat of Singapore
Mardan Mamat (Sgp)
It has been a roller-coaster ride for me the last 12 months. I managed to keep my Asian Tour card so I’m quite pleased with that. I’m looking forward to the new season. We’ve several promising youngsters coming up and turning professional. Quincy Quek, Koh Dengshan, Johnson Poh and Choo Tze huang are among the names to look out for. I’m very sad that we are losing golf courses in Singapore. Those two golf courses are very special to me. Jurong was where I started and learnt golf. It’s my childhood club. Raffles is where I developed my golf to the standard it is now. This is my first tournament of the season and I just want to build up my confidence so that I can get back to the winning circle. I feel good about myself. I had a nice three-week break where I got the chance to work on my game and make it better. This course will suit the good ball strikers. I need to have my mid and long irons to work because some of the holes are very long for me. The greens are very firm and the fairways are very soft so I need to have two different game plans. Looking at my stats on the Asian Tour, I need to improve on my putting and my driving. I used to be very consistent in my driving. I have to work hard on my game around the greens. Most importantly, I have to keep myself fit and healthy. If I can do that, I’ll still be able to compete at the highest level. We need a strong domestic tour to improve and produce more golfers. At the moment, we don’t have that unlike Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. A strong domestic Tour will provide golfers with more playing opportunities and exposure and bring them to the next level. It might be tough to sustain an event with such as huge prize money, like the US$6 million we used to enjoy. It’s a good start to go back to US$1 million and then we can move bit by bit so that we can have the Singapore Open on our schedule every year. My career highlight was my victory at the Singapore Masters. Winning is always a nice feeling. It doesn’t matter where you win, I cherish every victory from Singapore to Bangladesh and Philippines.
Sergio Garcia (Esp)
I was here 15 years ago I think it was a Skins game, I can barely remember it. I had a nice little practice from New Year onwards. Obviously, excited about starting the year here, definitely much warmer than in Europe at the moment. Hopefully I will have a good week, get some good vibrations for the year and, you know, get it going. I want to keep getting better. Keep the consistency level where we had it. Last few years I had some chances in tournaments and Majors. Everyone knows that the British Open is one of my favourite tournaments I always get very excited for that it does not mean I am not going to try as hard as possible in the other ones. Keep working on it. It is just a matter of working on your game. Believing in your self, believing in your ability. Some years are better than others I guess the last period since 2011 has been quite consistent. Last year was a solid year. I am excited to do more of the same this year. I guess being healthy always helps so I have not had any major injuries. That always helps to keep good rhythm on your golf and your career. A lot of great Japanese players and I have played throughout my career with a lot of them and of course Matsuyama playing amazing lately I am excited about it. It is always fun to come back to Asia and play with a big mix of players. I saw a lot of Japanese players out there today I have played golf with them in Japan and here in Asia so it should be fun. It was a pretty decent year last year, obviously winning on the PGA Tour was nice. I would have loved to have won on the European Tour but I thought it was a very consistent year. Obviously had a nice Ryder Cup did not matter that much we lost I played nicely there too. It was great with the Olympics with the experience of becoming an Olympian. I would love to have got a medal at least I got an Olympic diploma. It was a nice year with some new things and I was excited by the way I went. I just want to keep improving and keep enjoy what I am doing. Give myself as many chances as possible every single week. Give my best every single week. I do not like to stand here and I want to win at least three or four times or five times or anything like that. If I give it my all and have a great year and win four or five times it is great. If I come here and I only win or twice or none but feel like I have given everything I had it is all I can ask myself for. I have to play well obviously. The only way I am going to win is beat the guy who finishes second. I think just a matter of being consistent, playing well, having a good solid week and believing in my ability throughout the whole week. Having trust in what I am doing. I will try and do that to the best of my ability, hopefully that will be enough to be number one. If somebody else better than I will just have to accept it. I have always felt comfortable coming to Asia. I have done very well amount of tournaments I have played in. Always exciting to come here not only for us for the Asian people do not get to see us that often you always feel that there is a lot of good energy around. It is always exciting times.