"Watch out for Asia, says Thongchai"

Tue 29 Oct 2013

"Watch out for Asia, says Thongchai"

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Shanghai, October 29: Three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Thongchai Jaidee is confident the future of golf in Asia is good in hands as he continues his glory chase with compatriot with Kiradech Aphibarnrat at the WGC-HSBC Champions which tees off on Thursday.
Long regarded as the global flag bearer for Thailand, Thongchai, a 13-time Asian Tour winner, is delighted to witness the rise of the next generation of golfers as they continue to stamp their mark on the world stage.
None would deserve special mention other than Kiradech who captured the imagination of golf fans all over Asia following his exploits in Malaysia last weekend where he finished tied-third.
“It’s good that Asian players are playing well. Kiradech performed really well last week and I think what’s important for him is his confidence. He has a good chance this week. He only lost out by one shot last week,” said Thongchai, who is ranked 49th in the world.
As the only two Thai golfers at the year’s final World Golf Championship, Thongchai and Kiradech are tasked with keeping golf fans from Thailand and Asia at their edge of their seat again.
Thongchai believes Asians are not at the Sheshan International Golf Club to make up the numbers this week.
Instead, together with other players from the region’s premier Tour that include India’s Gaganjeet Bhullar, Australia’s Scott Hend, China’s Liang Wen-chong and Korea’s Baek Seuk-hyun, they will issue a strong statement of intent to win the WGC-HSBC Champions.
“Golf in Asia has improved a lot and I hope to see more players from the region play on the Asian Tour and European Tour in future. I’m excited about the future prospects for golf in Asia especially for my country too,” said Thongchai.
Like Kiradech, Thongchai has also enjoyed a superb season so far where he has notched up six top-10s, including two runner-up finishes at the Volvo World Match Play Championship in May and BMW Masters also in Shanghai last weekend.
“I’m performing well. I’ve no complaints about my performance. I’m inside the top-50 on the rankings and I’ll strive to move up. I’m fine if I remain inside the top-50 as that has always been my target this year,” said Thongchai.
The battle of champions will see Asia’s best players challenge the likes of American stars Keegan Bradley, Jason Dufner, Bubba Watson and Boo Weekley as well as defending champion Ian Poulter and 2012 Open Champion Ernie Els, who is a honorary member and international ambassador of the Asian Tour.
For the first time, the HSBC Champions will become part of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup schedule, with money earned counting as official money on the PGA TOUR, and the winner earning a three-year exemption on the PGA TOUR.
The HSBC Champions will also award full FedExCup points, plus the 10 percent premium awarded by all World Golf Championships compared to a regular PGA TOUR event.  With these changes the HSBC Champions is now in line with the other three World Golf Championships played in the United States and is also a key part of the 2013 European Tour’s Final Series.
The WGC-HSBC Champions prize fund has increased to $8,500,000 from $7,000,000 and is one of four World Golf Championships sanctioned and organised by the operational committee of the International Federation of PGA Tours, which includes the Asian Tour, European Tour, Japan Golf Tour, PGA TOUR, PGA Tour of Australasia and Sunshine Tour.
The other World Golf Championships include the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, WGC-Cadillac Championship and the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
Ends.
About the Asian Tour
In 2013, the Asian Tour will celebrate a momentous milestone with its 10th season. 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 Abacus (Official Apparel Partner), Inetol Headwear (Official Headwear Supplier), Saxo Capital Markets (Official Statistics Partner), Singha Beer (Official Beer), Srixon (Official Ball), Subway (Official Quick Service Restaurant), Starwood Hotels and Resorts (Official Hotels and Resorts) 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.