What They Said #HoTramOpen preview

Tue 01 Dec 2015

What They Said #HoTramOpen preview

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Sergio Garcia (Esp)
You arrived in a helicopter and saw the course. Thoughts on the course?
The hotel looks really nice. I took a view of the course from a helicopter and it looks really nice. I wasn’t expecting it to be so hilly because everything else looks flat here. It is going to be nice to have a good look today, get some notes and be ready for tomorrow.
How do you prepare for a big tournament?
Every aspect of the game is important. Not only on the long or short game. Mentally and physically, you want to be well prepared. This week is no different. I’m looking forward to getting over my jetlag and getting more sleep. I want to be as fresh as possible for the whole week.
Sergio Garcia of Spain Sergio Garcia of Spain
Is there extra incentive for you to impress Darren Clarke this week?
I know even when he is not playing, he is watching. As a Ryder Cup captain you have to be aware of what’s happening. I know he is very busy when he is off the golf course too. Next year is a massive year. It is the Ryder Cup, which is very important for all of us including me. We have the Olympics and four Majors. There are a lot of great things happening. It has the potential to be an amazing year.
If you can send a message to golf clubs in Vietnam on junior golf, what will it be?
Junior golf is the future. It is as simple as that. We are here but we have only so many years left. We need the future of golf behind us. Look at Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and some of the young guys on the European Tour. If you want the game to keep going, you need to get some of the junior guys to learn the game.
Thoughts of representing your country in the Olympics?
We represent our countries everywhere we go but we never had to possibility to do it at the Olympic game. I’m really excited at the possibility of being an Olympian and meeting some of the other athletics. It is a great opportunity and a massive year. I’m going to prepare the same way.
Darren Clarke (Nir)
It’s a week of entertainment; tell us about the week you can expect at Ho Tram off the golf course?
Judging by last night there is a lot of fun to be had off the golf course. We play tournaments all around the world, but to have entertainment like we did last night is something special. Normally we are in bed early, trying to prepare for the tournament, we are still trying to do that this week but with everything Ho Tram has put on for us, it’s been wonderful so far.
How important is it, as Ryder Cup Captain, to see you players in action?
As Ryder Cup Captain, there is a long way to go but I am keeping an eye on the guys every week and I monitor their stats every week. I don’t need to worry about him [Sergio], I know he is going to play great wherever he goes. I am just monitoring everyone as this year it looks like there could be a few young guys in there so in Europe I am playing frequently with the young guys to get to know them better. They’re golf game is good – they wouldn’t be in the position they are in if it wasn’t. I am watching everything that is going on.
You have already played nine holes, what do you think are the tricky parts of The Bluffs?
Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland
The wind. Yesterday it was a little bit windy but nothing compared to what it can blow and I think you have to be in control of your golf to hit it into the wind as it’s going to blow pretty strong here. You have to look at the more experienced guys here as it’s not just about hitting it 400yards down the fairway so someone like Sergio controls it as well as he does, he will be a tough man to beat. Control is very important this week.
Ho Tram is often described as often being an Irish or Scottish course in its feel, does it remind you of anywhere?
It does, it has a very links feel with different grass because the grass at home wouldn’t withstand the heat and temperatures here. You’ve got to really control your ball flight here and that’s what you have to do when playing links. You can’t run the ball here like you do at home but I really enjoyed the course. The nine holes yesterday – the wind wasn’t blowing as much as it can do here, when it gets up it is going to be interesting – I really enjoyed it.
Scott Hend (Aus)
It’s a very interesting course. Looks like you can score out there but you can also get into trouble with the wind. Should be a good test. They’ve made it a pretty good effort to make it into a links-styled course. Prize money is irrelevant to me, I just want to have another title. Prize money goes hand in hand with the trophy. I’ve had a pretty good year. I’m here to try to win a title here and possibly next week and secure second on the money list.
I was really tired in Dubai as that was my 11th week in a row. Had a week off last week. I didn’t play golf at all. Have got sore fingers and needed a bit of a break. This is number 33 and next week is 34 for me this year. I haven’t been home since August 11. I’ve been on the road for a few months now and it’ll be good to get home and get a break, both mentally and physically. This is the most tournaments I’ve played in a year by far. I think in 2005 I played 32 tournaments. This is the most I’ve played in forever.
It’s been a big learning curve in Europe. It’s pretty tough to feel at ease with the travel requirements and golf courses. Looking forward to the year ahead. I’ll like to come back here and play as much as possible as I always enjoy playing out here in Asia. I always like playing out here.
Jeev Milkha Singh (Ind)
It’s fantastic. It’s an excellent venue, staying on site at a good hotel, good food. The beauty of staying on site makes a lot of difference. You come up here, do your practice and your job and go back home to relax. The golf course is in excellent condition and it’ll be a great test of golf with the winds blowing.
I feel really good playing golf in windy conditions. I’m happy that I’m playing out here and hope conditions are windy as it’s a great test and you need your imagination and feel. I’ve done well in windy conditions in the past and hopefully I can make the most of the week.
I take the job in a positive sense. The EurAsia Cup captaincy is like a respect given to me by my peers plus I feel I’ve got the game to play. I’ll keep working hard at it and do the best that I can and hopefully win more tournaments in the years to come.
I feel the Asian Team is going to be strong. I’ve spoken to a lot of players and they are happy to be playing for Asia. I’m happy they have committed and I’m looking forward to the week. It’ll be a great championship, a good format. Europe has got a strong team. Their first 10 players are world class  players and I think it’ll be the same for Asian players who are world class players. Hopefully the best team wins.
Jeev Milkha Singh of India Jeev Milkha Singh of India
I’m loving the draw. I spoke to Darren yesterday and I said “Hey man, it starts right now here and it’s going to carry on to the EurAsia Cup week.” It’s great, it’ll be good banter the next two days and I’m looking forward to it. I’ve known Darren for years and it’ll be fun.
Adam Groom (Aus)
It’s been amazing, the hospitality has been awesome and every night has been exciting. I played the course once and it’s very different. It sort of reminds me of home, the New South Wales course, growing up in Sydney and playing in the winds. Same style and rolling hills. It’s one of our biggest events. I’m just outside the top-60 and will just get stuck to it. Still have three events to go, need to have two good weeks. I’ve been in this situation many times, it’s a pity I’ve played average all year and just get into it and hang up the clubs. You want to get out well in the morning while the winds are up in the afternoon. Just get into it and get the knock down shots going and get the ball in play.
Robert Rock (Eng)
It is a beautiful course and an amazing site to build a golf course. It is easy for me to be an ambassador and touring professional for the course and explain to people how good the course is. Now we have a tournament here and that’s excellent.
The par threes are very tricky especially with the strong wind. There are a lot of troubles around the par threes so if you escape level par there you probably will do very well. There is a lot of room off the tees and that’s expected in most links style golf courses. I think driving is not an important factor but you need good iron shots into the green because there are a lot of slopes. The wind will be a factor this week.
I spread the word on how golf is growing in Vietnam. I’ve been fortunate to set-up a golf academy here. We are working with juniors to try and start a bit more interest in golf. The important part is having a golf tournament so the world can see that Vietnam can stage an amazing tournament.
You need these big tournaments with big players so the interest is there for the kids. I grew up watching players like Seve, Nick Faldo and Greg Norman. We have great players here and they are doing that job now for us.
My game has been good. I’ve played well and quite consistently. I’ve been trying to organize myself better. I hope so (a win is coming close). My game is in better order when I won last time. My putting, short game and swing is better. I’m expecting a few opportunities to win but that’s difficult. Everybody wants to win.
Danny Chia (Mas)
This is a different experience. I don’t think I’ve played on any courses like this before. It gets really windy here and it has been a while since I played in such windy conditions. It will be a challenging week. It is a shot-making golf course and I enjoy the scenery here.
I need to make a lot of adjustments in my swing to overcome the wind. It will be interesting to see how I play this week.
It is definitely on my mind (qualifying for the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM). I would like to finish as the fourth highest ranked Asian.
My game is feeling good. I’ve been struggling with my putting but hopefully I can turn things around. I had a break last week so this is a brand new week for me. Even though I didn’t play golf last week but I had a lot of personal things to handle. I was away from golf for one week so now I can’t wait to get back to competitive golf.
Nicholas Fung (Mas)
The course is not overly long which suits my game. But we’ll have to deal with the wind where we need to be careful. I’m comfortable in these conditions. You don’t really need to hit it low all the time as it’s a fairly undulating course. Just need to put the ball in play as birdie chances will be high.
I was happy with my performances in recent weeks. Finished second in Singapore which helped me keep my card and in the Philippines, I was trying too hard. Played well in the first two days to get into contention but tried too hard over the weekend which didn’t work out for me. It’s my second last event for the year, just want to go out and have some fun. Don’t need to put pressure on myself.
I’m also thinking about the EurAsia Cup too. If I can finish well the next two weeks and earn some world ranking points too, maybe I’ll have a chance. Danny (Chia) is also in the running to make the team. Unless I win this week, I could get up on the Order of Merit but it’s not going to be easy this week or even next week in Thailand. I’ll do my best.
It’ll be good to represent Asia in the EurAsia Cup. It’s not easy to get into the team and it’s our only chance to present the region. Everybody is aiming for a spot in the team over the next two weeks. It’s also good exposure for Malaysian golf if I can make the team again. I learned a lot from the first EurAsia Cup, it gave me a lot of confidence and made me a better golfer in many ways.
Y.E. Yang (Kor)
This golf course looks so good. It is my first time playing in Vietnam so I’m very excited. My game is getting better but I need to focus more and train harder.
It is very breezy here. It is always difficult when you play in windy conditions but we are all playing under the same conditions. I think luck will play a small factor, depending on where you are on the draw.
This season is not bad. It has been good. I want to try to win this week. I always aim to win when I play in any tournaments. Hopefully when the weekend comes, I will be close or at the top.
Natipong Srithong (Tha)
This is such a stunning golf course. I like playing here because the greens are very good. The wind will make it difficult for us though.
My game is good and I’m still feeling happy about my win in the Philippines two weeks ago. When I returned home, my family was also very happy for me. It was a life-changing victory for me.
After this tournament I have some exams to go through. When I was young I wanted to be a lawyer but after playing golf, I want to be a successful golfer.
After the win, I moved up on the Order of Merit and my manager told me that I should now aim to qualify for the EurAsia Cup presented by DRB-HICOM. It is a very exciting tournament and I think it will be very good if I can represent Team Asia. That’s my goal now.
*Note Natipong studies law at the Thammasat University
Chikka S of India Chikka S of India
Chikka S (Ind)
This is my first time here and this golf course is beautiful. I’m so impressed with how the way the golf course is set-up. You have many interesting par threes and par fives and with the course facing the ocean, it makes this course very picturesque. It is amazing here.
The whole property itself is great. Coming out here and looking at the facilities and how they welcomed the players is phenomenal. I would say that this is one of the best events I’ve played in my career so far.
I’m not going to think about my Order of Merit position. I know I’m at my peak now. If I can go out and play like how I’ve been playing then I think saving my card is not a problem. I talked to my coach and to Anirban Lahiri and they’ve told me not to worry about it.
This is my first year on the Asian Tour and I faced the same problem when I played in my first year on the PGTI (Professional Golf Tour of India). When I was young, I saw these guys on television and I really wanted to play with them. Obviously my focus was on these players rather than focussing on my game but that’s changed.
Jazz Janewattananond (Tha)
This is one of the best venues in Asia I think, one of the greatest. The course design is very good, condition is perfect. It’s windy because we’re next to the ocean and I think we’ll have a good test this week. There are a lot of good holes on the golf course. It’s a links-styled course and certainly one of the best on Tour.
I had a week off last week, it was my birthday. I turned 20 and getting old! I’ll probably look at golf a bit differently now as I’m old man Jazz. It’s a great inspiration to see Danthai and Natipong winning the last few weeks. I’ve been on Tour a bit longer than them and I’m taking their success as positive thoughts for myself. If they can do it, so can I. I’ve been knocking on the door but haven’t had the right chance. Maybe this week. I’m playing well and hopefully I can play my best again this week.
Lin Wen-tang (Tpe)
The greens here are very undulating but this golf course is a beauty. It’s also very windy here and you just feel good here as the golf course looks fantastic. It’s my first time visiting Vietnam and I’m happy to be here on a beautiful golf course. We don’t get a chance to play on such a golf course on the Asian Tour. It’s very relaxing to be in the hotel. It’s great to see a new US$1.5 million tournament on the Asian Tour. A good chance for the young players to shine in a big event. It’s good for all of us.
My game is feeling good. Maybe just  a few aches when I walk on hilly courses as I’m already 42. My coach has told me to take it easy and not push myself too hard during practice days. The changes that I’ve made with my golf swing is coming along. I’m driving more accurately now which is a good thing.
Berry Henson (USA)
I played 18 here and it’s a great Greg Norman design. I’ve played a bunch of Norman designs and it really gives you the opportunity to go for the par fives. If you miss it and go a little off line, you get penalised. The par threes here are really good holes. It’s not long off the tee but the wind will make the course tough this week. I think it’s different from what we normally play. There’s a links feel to it, it’s open and there are no trees. It’s built on natural sand dunes and it’s definitely different from most Asian courses. It’s a good test. The morning rounds, I think the guys can have low rounds as it’s scoreable as a lot of the greens funnel towards the hole but when the wind picks up in the afternoon, you can see five shot swings. Depending on what they do with the tee times over the weekend, a guy going out in the morning could pick up 30 or 40 spots on the leaders just by getting a morning tee time. It’ll be interesting if someone can push themselves. I think it’ll be double digits which is going to win. I think it’s still scoreable if the wind is up. We’ve had by far the best opening party I’ve ever been to in Asia or the US and the gala dinner is today! The condition is the course is remarkable, the staff here has done a great job. For a first year event, they seem to have crossed all the ‘ts’ and dotted all the ‘I’s. It’s impressive what they’ve done and trying to do. Bringing in the calibre players is great. I think it could probably be the best event that we’ve had all year. I think it’s exciting for the players and the future of Vietnam golf in general
Chiragh Kumar (Ind)
It’s a wonderful links-styled golf course and it’s in such great condition. I think this must be one of the best golf courses that we play on every year. The wind here will certainly be a factor and you need to control your golf shots this week. You can score in the morning as it’s hardly any wind then and it picks up in the afternoon. It’ll be an interesting week and a great place to be.
Nicholas Fung of Malaysia Nicholas Fung of Malaysia
Nicholas Fung (Mas)
I think we’re playing on one of the best golf courses this year. The condition of the course is very good although it will be a good test as the greens are undulating and the winds can be a factor depending on which side of the draw you are in.
Oliver Wilson (Eng)
I got in last night and received a five-star arrival. It’s paradise really, a stunning setting. It’s fantastic to be here. I played nine holes this morning and it’s very interesting and it’ll be a fun course to play. It’s windy, and you’ve got to really think your way around the course. It’s tough although it’s not a long course. You need to have strategy and to be in the right places. I know they are trying to make it as good as possible – Asia’s Grandest Stage – so far from what I’ve seen, I’ve got to agree. They’ve invested in the event and from what I’ve seen, it’s a proper five star event at a proper location. There are some great players here and it doesn’t take players long to figure out a golf course.
It’s end of the season and I’ve come to play a good event and hopefully have a good end to the season. We’ll stay on for a few days and see what the resort and the Grand has to offer. We’re going to travel around and enjoying Vietnam as well.
My first year as a pro was 2004 and I came out here in 2005 and my first event was Hong Kong. I’ve been coming out to Asia since then and the standard has improved immensely. It really has. When I first came out, most of the guys didn’t swing it that well but they knew how to score although consistency wise, they had not reach the level that they could reach. Now, I was thinking about it on the first tee watching about eight or nine guys tee off and everyone was swinging it really well. The quality of the golf swing is so much better. Now, you see more Asian golfers going straight up into the world’s top-50 or contending in Majors. It’s only going to carry on, the knowledge, technique and advances in golf technology have been embraced in Asia.
It’s not been a fantastic season. I kind of feel like it’s just around the corner. It’s been like that the past few months. I’ve not been brilliant. In practice it’s been pretty good and just need something to click. I’m hoping the sunshine and a nice enjoyable week is going to be the one to help me finish the season strong.