Song's back to sing right tune #SingOpen

Tue 17 Jan 2017

Song's back to sing right tune #SingOpen

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Sentosa, Singapore, January 17: Defending champion Younghan Song of Korea returns to winning ground at the Sentosa Golf Club, ready for another epic battle against some of the biggest names in golf when the season-opening SMBC Singapore Open tees off on the Asian Tour on Thursday.
Sergio Garcia of Spain answers questions at a press conference Sergio Garcia of Spain answers questions at a press conference
The Korean penned one of the biggest upsets in golfing tales when he defeated then-world number one Jordan Spieth by one-shot at the Serapong course last year.
Song is back ready to defend his title and will be up against the likes of Major winners that include Australia’s Adam Scott and South Africa’s Ernie Els as well as Spain’s Sergio Garcia this time around.
The Asian challenge will come from a host of marquee names that consists of over 30 Asian Tour winners and five Order of Merit champions- Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand, Liang Wen-chong of China, Filipino Juvic Pagunsan, India’s Jeev Milkha Singh and Jyoti Randhawa.
Garcia, who is making his debut at the SMBC Singapore Open, is looking forward to kick-start his season on a winning note while Singapore’s Mardan Mamat will be hoping to provide the local galleries with something to cheer about, just like what he did with his victorious performance on home soil in 2006.
Interesting facts of the day:

  • Korea’s Younghan Song had not one but two selfies with Jordan Spieth when they reunited again in the locker room at last year’s PGA Championship.

  • Following his victory at the SMBC Singapore Open, finished second in the prestigious Mitsui Sumitomo Taiheiyo Masters in November 2016, lost in a play-of at the Honma Tour World Cup and was third in the Japan PGA Championship.

  • Singapore’s number one golfer, Mardan Mamat will be bidding to be the first Singaporean to win his National Open this week.

  • Spain’s Sergio Garcia’s last visit to Singapore was 15 years ago when he was only 22. He played in a Skins Game in 2002 along with Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh and Padraig Harrington but the SMBC Singapore Open will be his first start in a tour event in the Lion City.


Key Quotes
Younghan Song (Kor)
"I asked if he (Spieth) remembered seeing me at the Singapore Open. He obviously did, and took another selfie with me."- Younghan Song

Song Younghan of Korea, defending champion Song Younghan of Korea, defending champion
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.
Sergio Garcia (Esp)
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 vibes for the year and, you know, get it going. I want to keep getting better. Keep the consistency level where we had it.
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. - Sergio Garcia

Over the 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 yourself, 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.
It is always fun to come back to Asia and play with a big mix of players. 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. 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.
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 (Sgp)
Mardan Mamat of Singapore Mardan Mamat of Singapore
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. 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.
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. - Mardan Mamat

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.