Ballantine's Championship Preview: What they said

Wed 24 Apr 2013

Ballantine's Championship Preview: What they said

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Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind)
The Ballantine’s Championship is a good event and it’s in Asia and it’s good for the Asian Tour. It’s also good for Korean golf as they have many good players here and it’s good to see the talent that is coming out of Korea as I’ve been playing in Korea since 1993. I’ve seen the game and talent grown in this country. I have enjoyed lots of success in Korea and it’s good to be back. The conditions here are not like the links but the cold weather is for sure similar. Courses in Korea are normally very hilly. You’ve got to work on your distance control, slopy greens and that’s going to be fun. The key to winning this week is distance control and you’ve got to putt well on these greens. If you’re a good putter, you’ll do well anywhere in the world.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)
It has been a great achievement for the Asian Tour and for me. I’ve really grown up as a player on this Tour and I really respect the Asian Tour. I’ve gained lots of respect, maturity since joining the Tour. When I look back, it makes me feel really great that this is the Tour where I started playing golf and look where I’ve come the last seven years. It feels really good to be playing in my 100th event and this is how the game of golf has been growing for me. I’m really looking forward to playing in this tournament. The competition on the Asian Tour is growing every year and each year we’re competing against the best from the European Tour. The Tour is becoming really strong and we’re attracting the major sponsors. Avantha Masters, Maybank Malaysian Open, Ballantine’s Championship, these are the few big tournaments on this Tour which is growing up to its standards. This is the only Tour which gives us enough opportunity to go out there and compete with the good players from the European Tour.   I’ve played on this course a few times and to be honest, it really suits my eye. I would definitely say that it’s a bombers paradise. At times, winds play an important role but most of the time, you’ve got to keep the ball in play as far as you can because the fairways are quite wide and the greens are a little treacherous. You’ve got to be on the right side of the greens but at the end of the day, long hitters will definitely benefit on this course. I always feel that it’s important for me to give back to society and this has always been my childhood dream to do something for upcoming golfers and underprivileged kids in India. This is a foundation which I’ve formed and the goal is to promote the game of golf in India. I’ve talking to lots of sponsors and there have been lots of positive feedback. Hopefully by the end of this year, I’ll be able to pick a few junior kids from the IGU ranking and try to support them financially from their coaching to equipment.
Luis Oosthuizen (Rsa)
I’ve seen a lot of this tournament on television and heard a lot of good things about it from Ernie, so it was an easy decision for me to make. Plus they made it even easier for me to come by putting up a plane all the way from the States over here, so that was really nice of them. I’m looking forward to the week and looking forward to seeing what challenges the golf course presents when I play the Pro-Am this afternoon. From the range it looks like some of the holes are quite tight off the tee, so it should be a good test. My short game really let me down at the Masters – my putting wasn’t nearly good enough. I had far too many putts, and ended up missing the cut by two. I hit it okay – not great, but not terrible either – but around Augusta you need to putt really well, and the greens just got the better of me for the two days. But it hasn’t knocked my confidence too much, and I still feel good about this week.
Bae Sang-moon (Kor)
I flew all the way from the U.S. to take part in the Ballantine's Championship 2013 and my goal is to win the trophy. Last year the first round was pretty bad and it had some repercussions in the remaining three rounds.  So this time around, I'm going to put a lot of concentration and focus on the first round. I now have a new caddie and a new coach, so I think that everything is going in the right track. I know that my score, my performance, has yet to prove those new changes, however personally, I am pretty much satisfied with my overall performance and how I've played. Still there is some room for improvement.  I still need to prove all these changes and reflect those in my better scores.  I've changed a lot of caddies since last year, so I met this caddie starting from early this year and was on the field together starting from the Sony Open this year. I'm quite satisfied with my new caddie and I think that we have good personalities.  He was working for several years with Nick Price before. With regards to my coach, I didn't have a coach when I was playing in the U.S., so it's my first time to actually have a coach this time around.  He is Rick Smith, he is in his 50s, and he is a very famous coach.  He has also a very good personality, he's fairly fun to be with and we have great trust in each other and getting good lessons and having fun playing with him. So when I said that my performance is improving, I’m mostly talking about my swing.  For example, when I feel tired or when I feel exhausted, I have a tendency to hit my ball toward the right side, but working with my new coach now, I've been getting good suggestions and advice.  So it's been really easy to understand how to rectify my problem.  It's been very helpful. My number one priority at this time is going to be iron shots.  I think that depending on how you shoot that iron, I think that where you place your ball on the green, it's going to make a huge difference because of that severe undulation on the green.  Depending on the position, your putt could record like three or four on the same green.