#ThailandClassic: What they're saying

Wed 09 Mar 2016

#ThailandClassic: What they're saying

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Kiradech Aphibarnrat (Tha)
How do you feel after a long trip back from the US?
It’s been a long flight, I’ve got a lot of air miles. I’m a bit tired and still having jetlag. Woke up twice last night but it’s great to be back to play in your home country and to play in front of your fans, family and especially my wife  who will come this week. I think she’ll come on Sunday as she knows about the prize money and she’ll come to collect the money! It’s an honour to come back to Black Mountain as I’ve played so well on this course. Last year, top-three here and then also winning Thongchai’s event here (Asian Development Tour event). A few low scores and I look forward to play over the weekend.
What is it about the course that seems to suit you?
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand
Over here, you need good drives. If you hit good drives, you can make low scores and birdies. Some holes are quite narrow. But when you have the length, it’s a wedge into the greens. If you have short irons in, you have opportunities to have birdies.
Is this week a launch pad for you to get into the higher rankings?
I didn’t start well like the last couple of years. I played the first five weeks but doesn’t play on form. I’ve worked hard last week and this week with my coach. We’re very near to get back into form for this week. I want to get confidence before going to the States for the big events, before Augusta starts. Hopefully get my swing and confidence back.
What’s held you back in your game?
Last year, I played a lot of golf and worked hard. I spent a lot of time all around the world and after the Boonchu event, I took a few weeks off with my family and spent time with my fiancée. It doesn’t feel like I’m back to 100 percent. Last week I tried hard and struck the ball better. It’s still the beginning of the year and I have confidence of coming back strong.
How’s married life treating you?
After getting married, I haven’t spent a night with her! (Laughter). I’ve been traveling, to Malaysia, the States and back here. I arrived here on Monday morning at 7am and was supposed to meet her for 15 minutes but she went out. I have no chance to meet her. Maybe on Friday, I will tell you on Saturday after spending a night with her.
How important is it for you to put in a good result before you go back to America?
I want to come back and have confidence. A lot of fans will support me and I’ll get a lot power from that. All the big events are coming up, like Augusta National which I’m looking forward to playing in the Masters and the course. I’ll focus more and pay more attention to my game. My game is there.
What’s your schedule like after this week?
I’ll fly back to Orlando to play Bay Hill next week and then the Match play, week off and then play Augusta National.
You’ve won all around the world but not in Thailand. What would it mean to you to win this week?
It would mean a lot. If you look at the prize money, it’s a big event. It’s also a big event for the local players who can win these big events. I want to do my best on behalf of Thai people. I’m sure all Thai players will try hard and not let the others take the trophy away easily.
Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand
Andrew Dodt (Aus)
Surely a lot of good memories coming back to Black Mountain?
There are a lot of good memories. I remember almost every shot and a lot of them were really good. It’s nice to come back to some where where you’ve played well before. I love this golf course, the weather is similar to Australia and the course is similar to an Australian course. There’s a lot going for me which will help me play well.
How’s your flu?
24 hours ago, I wasn’t very good. I’ve improved slightly. This morning was a test, to see if I could get through the pro-am. I’m not feeling the greatest but you know what they say about beware the sick golfer and I hope to use that to my advantage.
What do you like about the course?
Off the tee, you can go to some courses and off the tee, it doesn’t fit your eye but over here it fits my eye. I don’t know why that is. For some reason, I don’t feel like I can hit any bad shot which is a nice feeling which doesn’t happen that often.
Tell us about your brother Anthony who’s on the bag?
This is his first time caddying and his first trip out of Australia. It’s an exciting week and a big week for him to come out to taste Asian culture. He’s picked a good week and I just happened to be defending a tournament as well. It’s quite fun to have him carry the bag although he’s saying his shoulder is quite sore from it. He was on the cart this morning, so we’ll find out after four days.
Any bantering out there which keeps you loose?
He doesn’t play much golf, he’s head greenskeeper at the course where I play back home (Gatton Golf Club) but we have a lot of good times. It’s nice having him out here. Apart from the flue, I’m feeling very good.
Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)
You came close last year to finish tied second, what are you goals this week?
The first thing is that this is like my home course. Last year, I had a good chance to win but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough with the putting. I know the field his quite strong this week and I’ll try my best. The course condition is fantastic, the greens are quicker than last year. Whoever who putts well will win the tournament. For me, I want to get my feeling back. I came down with a viral fever in Malaysia a few weeks ago. Last week I rested and started to practice last Wednesday. Hopefully I feel better now, I think 70 or 80% now, want to be 100%. It’s bad when you get sick, I was upset about the Maybank Championship Malaysia. But I’ll be ready for tomorrow.
Did you have to be admitted into hospital?
I got into hospital from Sunday till Tuesday, checked in straight to hospital when I arrived from Malaysia. It was the good thing to do. Doctor advised to stay in hospital and they gave me all sorts of medicine to protect me. It was some virus, something different which was different. We wanted to treat it well.
Was it an easy decision to decide to pull out from last week’s WGC-Cadillac Championship?
I was coughing all night last week but it’s become better now. It was hard. Right now, I taking medication and still on medication now. Hopefully I’ll be okay tomorrow.
Are you swinging it well?
Played nine holes on Monday and Tuesday and 18 holes today in the pro-am. Practising well, hitting well and putting well. But in the tournament it can be different. The main thing is the golf course, you have to putt well as the greens are tricky and challenging. They are rolling really well and you need to be in the right positions to score.
What type of game will do well here?
That’s what I said about this being a putting challenge. From tee to green, there’s no rough. You have to putt well. It’s hard to putt as the slopes can be killing. It’s easy to get three or four putts if you’re on the wrong side of the pin.
Highest ranked player in the field this week, does it add to your expectations?
In golf, anything can happen. Some guy can hit top form and beat the field. Every week, I play my own game and play the golf course. Every week, you have to have perfect week to win. If someone shoots a low score, you can’t do anything. Anyone can win a tournament here.
How nice is it to have your own villa here on the course?
I had a condo here previously but when they built the house, I liked to be near the green. That was my target. Last year, I spoke to the owners and said I would like to buy the house due to the nice view. He gave me the house and we struck a contract. It’s good to be hear. You can walk to the range, five minutes to the tee box. The views are fantastic and the location is great. I like it being here. It’s good to be here to practice and to have a holiday.
How important is it to have a big tournament like this in Thailand?
I would like to see more tournaments. We had several others previously but now we have the True Thailand Classic for the second year. I would like to see this event growing bigger and getting more top players. It’s great to see the sponsors supporting this tournament.