Up close and personal with Thai golf star Thongchai Jaidee

Posted on June 12, 2013

0


As the Asian Tour continues to celebrate its milestone 10th season in 2013 as a players’ organisation, the tour talks to some of Asia’s golfing legends about their journey on the region’s premier Tour. This week, they catch up with Thai ace Thongchai Jaidee, the only man to win three Order of Merit crowns in Asia. He is competing in the U.S. Open this week.

Thai golf star Thongchai Jaidee.

Tell us about how you got into professional golf and what the Asian Tour means to you now?

I started golf quite late. I turned pro when I was 29. I like the Asian Tour because I was born on the Asian Tour. I started playing competitively on this Tour and it has given me a lot of experience. It is very exciting to see the Asian Tour growing bigger now.

Over the past decade, you’ve played globally due to your success. Do you always make it a point to return and compete on the Asian Tour?

I won’t forget about the Asian Tour. If I have time to be back and play on the Asian Tour, I will do so. I know the Asian Tour is doing really well now. The prize money is enough and we have a lot of strong players coming up and a lot of young players are also coming up.

You’ve won many times on the Asian Tour. Which one was the best?

I have won 13 tournaments in my career on the Asian Tour. The 2001 Korean Open was my first tournament win and it was very exciting to get my first title. The other big win was also the 2009 Ballantine’s Championship in Korea as it was so cold at that time. I’ve never won in those conditions before.

Growing up as an amateur golfer, who were your golfing heroes?

When I started playing, Boonchu Ruangkit was a big hero for me in my country. Boonchu has time for everyone and he helps them to improve and become a good player. And the second player whom I looked up to was Ernie Els.

You’ve played all around the world. Which is your favourite place to play golf?

I have been to so many good places. I like America as they have a lot of good golf courses. Definitely I like Thailand too because it’s my home country. There are also many top courses in Asia too.

What was your biggest challenge in your career?

In 2008, I had a very bad injury. I think that was one my very bad years. I had to go for treatment for about eight months to improve. Another bad experience was at the Masters Tournament in 2010 as I had an arm injury and was forced to withdraw on the second day. I was very sad about that.

Who do you think can emulate your success on the Asian Tour?

If I can pick one, I think Kiradech Aphibarnrat will be my choice. He has everything. I think Kiradech has got a very big future ahead in my mind.

After winning for the first time on European soil last year, what do you hope to achieve before 2013 concludes?

The main thing this year is for me to be in the top 50 of the world rankings, that’s my key goal. And also if I can get back into the Masters Tournament, that would be my dream. (Note: Thongchai is ranked 52nd in the world this week)

What about life after professional golf … have you thought about that?

I know age is very important. We are getting older and you cannot hit the ball longer. If I can still hit the ball well, I can play on the Seniors Tour. If not, I already have a plan in my life which is my golf school. I also have started a restaurant business of my own.

About Thongchai

Country: Thailand

Date Of Birth: November 8, 1969

Residence: Lop Buri, Thailand

Family: Married, 2 children

Turned Pro: 1999

ASIAN TOUR VICTORIES: (13)

2000 Kolon Cup Korean Open; 2001 Indian Open; 2002 Myanmar Open; 2003 Volvo Masters of Asia, Thailand, 2004 Myanmar Open, 2004 Malaysian Open, 2005 Malaysian Open, 2006 Volvo Masters of Asia, Thailand, 2008 Hana Bank Vietnam Masters, 2008 Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open, 2009 Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open, 2009 Ballantine’s Championship, Korea, 2010 Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open.

TPN-D-New_02

Advertisements
Posted in: Koh Samui