Thongchai aims to relive #MMO glory

Wed 04 Feb 2015

Thongchai aims to relive #MMO glory

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Kuala Lumpur, February 4: Thai star Thongchai Jaidee is itching to get his hands on the Maybank Malaysian Open trophy this week following famous back-to-back triumphs over a decade ago.
The three-time Asian Tour number one will spearhead the region’s challenge in the US$3 million showpiece which is co-sanctioned with the European Tour at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Along with the likes of countryman Kiradech Aphibarnrat, winner here in 2013, and India’s Arjun Atwal, who tasted victories in 2003 and 2008, the leading Asian trio will face off a stellar line-up that includes title holder Lee Westwood and Graeme McDowell.
Thongchai, who won in 2004 and 2005, finished in the top-35 in his first two events of the year in the Middle East in the past fortnight but he is ready to launch a title charge at the Maybank Malaysian Open, which is the season-opening event on the Asian Tour’s 2015 season.
“My confidence is good right now and I want to get better and better. I was top-25 and top-35 in the first two weeks but this week, I’m looking forward to challenging,” declared Thongchai.
The 45-year-old Thongchai won a second title on European soil last season and has risen to his current 37th position on the Official World Golf Ranking. During the off-season, he worked hard with long-time coach Peter Wolfenstetter, tightening an already reliable swing to ensure longevity in the game as he wants to play in the 2016 Olympic Games and contend in the Majors.
Arjun Atwal of India Arjun Atwal of India
“I want to improve for the future and aim to play better in the Majors, which is the key goal, to be better than last year,” said the former paratrooper. “Golf is not easy but I’ll always try to make it fun. This week is an important week as it’s co-sanctioned and if you win this, you’ll jump up in the world ranking and also have a chance to become the Asian Tour number one.
“The Olympics is very important. It’s going to be back for the first time in a long while. It’s a great chance to play in the Olympics and everyone is very excited.”
Atwal and Kiradech believe they can also contend in the Maybank Malaysian Open after finding the missing pieces to their puzzle over the past season.
Atwal, Asia’s number one in 2003, won the inaugural Dubai Open for his eighth Asian Tour title in December to end a four-year title drought while Kiradech took almost a year to overcome the loss of his coach with his last win being the 2013 Maybank Malaysian Open.
“I didn’t think I would play golf again because of my injuries. It was tough for me to walk at a certain point. To get back from that stage to win a tournament, is probably the biggest in my life. I give it more importance to my PGA Tour win,” said Atwal, who is India’s first winner in America following an historic victory at the 2010 Wyndham Championship.
“I thought I was just being excited when I said it in Dubai but I do believe that it is. When I won in 2010, I was feeling good about my game and health. Even though I was a Monday qualifier, I told my caddy that I’m feeling great and we are going to win. In Dubai, I was still thinking if I could ever win again!” he added.
Into his 40s now, Atwal said that he is not overworking his body to ensure that he stays healthy. “I used to like practising! I wasn’t the type who would play a lot of rounds. I would get my work done on the range and I loved it. It was okay in my 20s and 30s but when I was 37 or so, the body starts to break down a little bit more because you do the same move.
“This is my 20th year as a professional. You keep doing the same repetitive move and something is going to happen. My routine now is more playing than practising,” he said.
Kiradech hopes to repeat his 2013 victory at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand
“Last year was a difficult year for me. I worked with Pro Jew (his former coach who passed away) for a long time and it was tough to believe in another coach. But after five or six months, I started to feel comfortable with my new equipment and coach. I’m happy overcame the first few frustrating months and now I’m ready to start playing good golf,” said Kiradech, who ended 2014 with three straight top-10s.
“The Asian and European players are almost equal in standard. My game is on fire at the moment. I’m striking the ball much better than last year so I look forward to play well here again,” said the 25-year-old.
About Maybank
The Maybank Group is South East Asia’s fourth largest bank by assets. It has an international network of over 2,400 offices in 20 countries namely Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Hong Kong SAR & People's Republic of China, Bahrain, Uzbekistan, Myanmar, Laos, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia, Great Britain and the United States of America.  The Group offers an extensive range of products and services, which includes consumer and corporate banking, investment banking, Islamic banking, stock broking, insurance and takaful and asset management. It has over 47,000 employees serving more than 22 million customers worldwide. (www.maybank.com) 
About the Malaysian Golf Association
The Malaysian Golf Association (MGA) is the sole governing body of golf in Malaysia that was founded in 1929 by representatives of golf clubs to promote the sport while preserving its traditions and integrity. The non-government organization is run by passionate volunteers who have a love for the game of golf, with the help of a team of management staff. The association’s portfolios have increased over the years ranging from conducting 14 state amateur opens, national amateur open, national amateur close, Malaysian Open to processing handicaps through its National Handicap System to promoting grassroots programs and training of athletes to represent Malaysia in international events.
About the Asian Tour
As the official sanctioning body for professional golf in Asia, the Asian Tour leads the development of golf across the region, enhancing the careers of its members while maintaining a commitment to the integrity of the game. The Asian Tour, through its membership of the International Federation of PGA Tours, is the only recognised pan-Asian professional golf tour in Asia. This unique feature positions the Asian Tour at the pinnacle of professional golf in Asia; providing its events with Official World Ranking status. Tour Partners include FENIX Golf (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Sponsor), Oakley (Official Eyewear and Footwear Sponsor), PRG (Official Accessories Supplier), Srixon (Official Ball), Titleist (Official Web Partner) and Rolex (Official Timekeeper). The Asian Tour has offices in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore. Also, visit us at www.asiantour.com, www.facebook.com/asiantourgolf, www.twitter.com/asiantourgolf, www.youtube.com/theasiantour and www.weibo.com/asiantourgolf.
The European Tour
The European Tour is committed to celebrating the game of golf from the origins of the professional game, building a proud history of achievement, sportsmanship and integrity as well as showcasing our diverse global talent and rich landscapes. The European Tour's innovative approach enables us to embrace the world, combining championships of tradition with new tournaments in the cities and countries of the future. The European Tour International Schedule, which from 2009 has incorporated The Race to Dubai, is a thriving global brand which, in 2013, will feature a minimum of 45 tournaments spread across all five continents of the world; the European Challenge Tour focuses on the up and coming players of the future; while the European Senior Tour provides a new start for champions celebrating their 50th birthday. The European Tour’s corporate identity features the iconic silhouette image of six-time Open Champion Harry Vardon who gives his name to The Harry Vardon Trophy, presented to the player who is crowned European Tour Number One and winner of The Race to Dubai at the end of the season.
About Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club
Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club (KLGCC) is a member of Sime Darby Property Bhd and a propriety Club wholly-owned and operated by KLGCC Berhad. The club has won numerous accolades from both local and foreign golfing fraternity, the latest being recognised as Number One and Two top golf courses in Malaysia for 2014 by US Golf Digest, voted the ‘Best Course in Malaysia’ for the second time in a row for its championship West Course at the 2013 Asian Golf Monthly Awards, the second runner up for the Best Championship Course in Asia Pacific and nominated as Top 10 Best in Asia Pacific for Best Clubhouse and Best Pro-Shop categories. At the same time, KLGCC was voted Best Golf Experience for the Best of Malaysia Awards 2013 Travel Awards by The Expatriate Lifestyle Magazine readers. Today, KLGCC is a landmark as the most luxurious golf resort development in Malaysia and KLGCC has in recent years hosted numerous international championships such as the Maybank Malaysian Open and the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
About GlobalOne
GlobalOne (Emerald Evolution Holdings Sdn Bhd) is an executive lifestyle sports promoter and we create sports event ownerships. We specialise in providing the full spectrum in  sponsorship event management and have an excellent track record in planning and delivering on PGA European Tour golf events for Malaysia (Maybank Malaysian Open), Singapore (Singapore Masters) and Indonesia (Indonesia Open) since 1999. We have strong relations with sports governing bodies, the media and commercial sponsors and technical partners to deliver on the bottom line.  We assist all our clients to create super-strategic, high-return, best practice sponsorship to provide a strong, unified vision, across departments and stakeholders, of the broad range of marketing and business objectives that can be achieved through this sponsorship. We also form and maintain strong relationship with players’ managers to source the best players. GlobalOne currently stages a highly successful and prestigious tournament in Asia – the Maybank Malaysian Open, which is co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the Asian Tour providing the event with Official World Ranking status. Our long term partners include Emirates (Official Airline), Carlsberg (Official Beer & Stout), Ricoh (Official Office Equipment), Astro (Official Satellite TV), Jaguar Land Rover Malaysia (Official Car), DoubleTree (Official Hotel), 100Plus (Official Isotonic Beverage), Crestlink (Official Apparel), Transview Golf (Official Golf Accessories & Equipment), Mal-Tel (Official Radio & Communications), Spritzer (Official Water), Singleton (Official Whisky), Srixon (Official Range Balls), Havana (Official Cigars).