What They Said

Wed 20 Feb 2013

What They Said

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PROM MEESAWAT (THA)
I’ve been working hard on my fitness, to get myself ready for the new season. I’ve lost a bit of weight and get my stomach stronger. I also worked on getting my back and shoulder stronger as I’ve had some injuries in the past. When I am stronger, it helps a lot with my game and swing. It’s certainly helped my golf. When your body is ready, you can swing it well and do whatever you want. The results tend to become better.
I had a 76 in Abu Dhabi but my game was still okay. I set my goal for the first tournament to make the cut and I was very happy. Then I finished top-20 in Qatar. It was a good start to the season, good experience for me.
I’m going to try to play as much as I can on the Asian Tour for the first half of the year and then I’ll go over to Europe. I’ll do Myanmar, Avantha, Maybank, Chiangmai, Panasonic and possibly CIMB Indonesia. I’m going to play everything to get my ranking up. It would help if I can win early in the year, it would help me so that I can focus on playing well in Europe.
If I can maintain my form as last year, it would be okay.
It’s been a long time since I last won. Every one wants to win. For me, it’s been a long time. I can say now that there are now many young talents coming up. Every golfer is playing well, the game is getting closer amongst the top guys. I can say that if I have a good week in Europe, I can win on the European Tour. It’s only one good week and you can win. I want to try to win on the Asian Tour again.
My first full season was in 2004. Since I was young, I have watched players like Boonchu and Prayad and I wanted to be like them. My dad is also an inspiration. Looking back in the past 10 years, I’m now in the top-20 of the Career Earnings list which is quite an achievement for me.
The win in Korea is still in my memory as it was my first international win for me. It was special as KJ and Jeev were in the field and these guys are winners on the PGA Tour and European Tour. They are amongst the best players in the world.
Everyone expects me to win more than once on the Asian Tour. But I can’t force it. I lost to Chinnarat in a play-off and had a few other close calls and lost to Anirban last year in another play-off. The fields are getting stronger and it’s difficult to win.
I can say that thaworn has a great shot game, one of the best in the world. That’s helped his scores. He can save your scores when you are missing shots. He can scramble so well which is the key thing. Right now, I’m hitting it well but if I don’t make the putts, I won’t make the score. If I can improve my short game to be like Thaworn and to be mentally strong like him, I think I can be like him. I think I have 16 more years to catch what he’s done. I just need to keep working hard.
He has worked hard over the years. He’s very good for the game, an inspiration to me and other Thai players.
I had some injuries in 2010 and 2011 and kept playing with the injuries. I started hitting it bad and my confidence was gone. My game was gone. When I was on the tee box, I didn’t know where the ball would go. Mentally, I was gone. I felt really bad during that spell. Everyone in Thailand expected me to be a very good player but I had a bad two years. I knew I needed to find something. I found the sports psychologist, Dr Pichit, who works with the Thai Olympic boxing team. I worked with him for one year and it really helped my game.
At that time, I didn’t know how to hit the driver. I didn’t have any confidence. He taught me how to think better. If there’s water on the left and OB on the right, why don’t I just think about the fairway and pick a target on the fairway. He gave me some ideas on how to deal with that in my head. When you have a bad feeling, you always think about the bad things.
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During my down time, my wife and family were very supportive. All friends supported me and asked me what was happening and showed concern. They stood behind me which helped me get back to my game.
My wife told me not to worry. She said everyone goes up and comes back down sometimes. I never thought that I would never find my game again. When I lost my card, I knew it would be tough to get the card back as I wasn’t in the co-sanctioned events. The fields were getting stronger and I knew I had to play well in the smaller events and had like five top-10s in 2011 which made my year easier.
In the monastery, you have to be pray before 8am and you can’t have food after 12 noon. You can have only two meals per day. You read the books by Buddha and meditate and pray. I’ve been a monk for 20 days when I was 20 years old, which is a Thai tradition for a young man where you have to do this for your family. And my second trip, I went to India for eight days.
When I was young, I always watched my dad play and it helped me a lot. He was a top player in Thailand and he had to fight as he wasn’t from a rich family. I think I’m a bit lucky as my dad’s winnings, when I was seven years old. He basically set up everything for me. I have also very good support from Khun Santi, who supported my dad and family. He saw me since I was very young and my first golf set was from him. I’m lucky to have my dad’s support including from Khun Santi and Singha. I had more opportunities that Thaworn and Prayad.
I want to give back to the kids, set up an academy one day when I retire. But before I do that, I want to win a Major championship. That’s my lifelong goal. I have many years to try to achieve it. I’ve played only once in the British Open and I’m going to give it a shot and try to move up the world rankings.
PETER RICHARDSON (ENG)
I played the course and it is really nice. It is kind of like an American style layout. It is pretty straight forward. You hit driver on a lot of holes. Hopefully I can make a lot of birdies.
I’ve been trying to get my physical health back a bit. I was struggling last year with my back so I’ve been seeing specialists and physiotherapists to see what sort of exercises I can do. It (back) is okay but I still feel a bit of pain. It is not going to cause me any discomfort. Hopefully there will be no more issues going forward.
It is coming along quick (when asked how he felt earning an Asian Tour card through the Asian Development Tour). I think it just sunk it in the last couple of weeks. It is going to be exciting because I’ll be playing on new courses and facing new challenges. I’m looking forward to playing with the big guys.
Playing well is my number one priority. I want to enjoy it and if I can do that and relax then hopefully I can play my best golf and get some good results early on. I want to try to get off to a good start and hopefully ride on that in the next few months.
KIRADECH APHIBARNRAT (THA)
I’m on form right now. I won a local event a few weeks back. I know this golf course quite well and I usually play well on courses with wide fairways. I try to play my best and see how it goes during the weekend.
The course is quite wide open so big-hitters like Scott Hend and I played well. I didn’t practice much during the off season because of sickness. I’ve been working a lot with my coach and I’m doing well. This is my first Asian Tour event of the year so everyone wants to do well or win. I just changed a bit of my back swing with my coach.
I had a problem with my thyroid and it made me tired when I play golf. Now I have to exercise regularly to strengthen my muscle. It is getting better after taking some medications. I have to see if it gets better after six months or I’ll have to go through an operation.
I went for a holiday for a month without any golf. I travelled around Thailand with my girlfriend. I felt very relax during the off season which was good.
BERRY HENSON (USA)
I had six weeks at home but I took a couple of days off before I started training for this year. I didn’t take much time off and hit the gym really hard. My coach came in town later and we made some changes for this year. I worked really hard during the off season and went to Thailand last week to get used to the heat and grasses again.
I’m looking forward to Myanmar and a fun week. If you look at it on paper, it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t have a win and didn’t reach some goals which I set myself. I felt my game deteriorated as the year (2012) went on so I tried to figure out how to make things better this year.
I created a new shot that I call it the ‘Chucky Three Sticks’ like Charles Howell! I feel that if I can hit my eight iron to 140 yards with a low trajectory. If I can do that throughout my bag then I think it will help at some weeks where we get a lot of wind.
I really worked hard on making different shots on the golf course and making those changes is going to help and make me more versatile.
When I got home, my short game coach had everything written out. He had my stats and we compared with Thaworn’s stats. Obviously he killed everybody in putting last year. We figured out what to attack during the off season and how to get better this year.
No, my luggage still hasn’t arrived yet! I think it is lost. I hope it shows up next week.
SIDDIKUR (BAN)
It is a great golf course. I played in Myanmar in 2010 but it was on a different golf course. You need to putt very well here because the fairways are wide here. All long hitters will have an advantage because there are very little rough. It will come down to the putter.
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I didn’t do much. I just did some workout and practised on my game. It was bad toward the end of 2012. I think I played in too many tournaments but I won’t make the same mistake again this year.
I have the confidence to win another Asian Tour event. I’ve tried very hard to do that but I feel that it is coming closer. I’ve improved a lot since 2010. There’s a big difference in my game so I think it will be very soon before I win again.
YUTA IKEDA (JPN)
I feel the course is very difficult because there’s a lot of water around the golf course. My game is not 100% because this is my first professional event of the year. I’ll do my best here but I will not put any high expectations on myself. My goal is to earn more world golf ranking points this week and I hope I can do that.
HU MU (CHN)
I played this event last year and finished around 30th. I like the course and the layout. I think I’m better prepared this time, than obviously at Qschool. I’m looking forward to the week. There’s a bit of pressure which is good. I’ll to get into a good position at the weekend.
MITHUN PERERA (SLK)
It’s a new experience for me. I’ll be aiming for a good start. I didn’t’ expect to finish top-60 as I had only limited events and I’m really lucky to be the first Sri Lankan to get a full card on the Asian Tour. In Sri Lanka, golf is still new. I’ll be flying the flag proudly. It’s great to be in a tournament with Thaworn and Siddikur, they are my two favourite players. I believe that one good week can change your life, it can be this week. I’ll be aiming to win one tournament this year.