Category: Television

Masteritist at Fever Pitch Here in Bangkok

Masteritist at Fever Pitch Here in Bangkok

23_VMA05_Winner_Shiv Kapur Well I did try everything to kick this dreadful disease…..but in the end the power of seeing a certain 21 year old from Northern Ireland win a green jacket, meant I woke up at 1.45hrs this morning in Bangkok and turned on the TV to watch the 75th Masters.

If you were a Hollywood script writer I don’t think you could come up with such a dream finish.

At one stage there were seven players tied for the lead!

Of course initially I was rooting for Rory McIlroy, but he seemed to disintegrate on the 10th hole and ended up losing it completely in one horrendous hole.

Meanwhile Tiger was playing for the USA as the only American on the first page of the leader board and it looked like a Tiger win was on the cards. Now, what a story that would have been. However after a couple of birdies went he finished with -10 and so can we say the Tiger is almost back on track?

Jason Day a 23 year old from Australia, fellow Ausi Adam Scott and Englishman Luke Donald all came within a whisker, with some gutsy shots on the final three holes.

However playing his usual solid and reliable game was South African Charl Schwartzel who came through the pack to claim the 2011 green jacket.

One could say that before his Major win, Charl was one of the up and coming European Tour players, who always was up there, but had not grabbed the limelight like his great buddy Louis Oosthuizen who won the 2010 British Open.

Well the golf tour moves away from the States this week as a mini Asian swing starts with the 50th Maybank Malaysian Open kicking off this week in KL, followed by the China Open and the Korean Open.

The promoters had paid for the big guns with Kaymer, Oosthuizen, Campbell and McIlroy to turn up at the KLGCC. Listed as a player this morning is a certain Charl Schwartzel playing under category B as a winner of a European and Challenge Tour event.

Now I would assume that the tournament promoter must be thinking he has won the PR coup of the year, by having the current Masters Champion in his field.

Asia is now attracting a lot of big name players over here on a regular basis and this has to be a great advert for our wonderful golf courses dotted about the South East Asian region.

Kaymer was the star turn in KL, Westwood will be teeing off the following week in Jakarta, and Els and co will join them in South Korea.

Behind the scenes I hear that there are plans to hold a major European and Asian tour event here in Thailand.

Asia and in particular Thailand already has a booming golfvacation industry.

With over 280 courses to choose, Thailand has numerous venues available. Watch this space?

Major Winners in Asia

Major Winners in Asia

Sometimes everything just falls into place and as a journalist, all the travelling and waiting around just pays off.

Being based here in Bangkok, the big names on the professional circuit tend to side step playing in our local tournaments, perhaps with the exception of the popular Royal Trophy.

Therefore twice a year I need to stock up with pictures and stories by covering the bigger events here in Asia. On Tuesday I therefore flew to Kuala Lumpur.

This week was very unusual, as the 50th running of the Maybank Malaysian Open could almost be termed as the Asian Major, having attracted three out of this year’s Major winners to participate.

World number 1 Martin Kaymer and British Open Champion Louis Oosthuizen, were invited some time ago by the sponsors, along with a certain Rory McIlroy.

Then much to the delight of the tournament organisers, Charl Schwartzel, who had actually been scheduled to play anyway, won last weekend the coveted green jacket, and the Maybank’s global TV audience had now skyrocketed. Great for the sponsors, even better for Asian golf!

In the space of 20 minutes last Wednesday at the KLGCC, I managed to grab all three Major winners for a quick interview. As they had all flown from Augusta, they were naturally all jet lagged, but were genuinely keen to get out on the course.

Both Charl and Rory travel over together from Augusta, and the airline had managed to lose their clubs; therefore both were starting their first rounds without even seeing the course before. Reminds me of all us weekend golfers who turn up and play at the 280 Thai golf courses without even having the yardage books or even a reliable caddie!

All three told me that they had played before in Asia, and in fact Martin had made his first cut here IMG_1513 in Asia in 2007, earning him his first pay check. Fond memories!

So far Thailand was still to be tested by them, but Martin certainly was keen to play and jokingly said ‘send me an invitation.’ He knew all about the end of season Asian Tour Masters and the Royal Trophy, and his manager admitted it would make a good end of season break for the World No 1. Maybe Black Mountain or Colin Montgomerie should take note?

The media circus then moved on and they were back on duty playing in the Pro Am.

This is a great time for me to grab those relaxed photos of the stars, so I managed to get a Media Golf Cart and waited at the start.

One of the organisers ran up and said would I mind taking a caddie and his player to the first tee, as they were late. Yes I said, and who should sit down next to me but Craig, Martin Kaymer’s Scottish caddie along with the great man’s golf bag. Martin hung onto the back and off we went for the four minute ride.

If only I had someone free to take a picture!

Not to miss an opportunity, when we got to the first tee, instead of a tip, I cheekily asked if I could have a picture with Martin. Craig the caddie turned photographer and duly obliged. Result was me the Editor with Number 1 …my own personal scoop!

As I say some days it all just falls into place. If Martin does fly over to play in Black Mountain in the next few years then I will have done the job and Thailand can experience why he is World Number One.

Masteritist… a Very Serious Golfers Disease

Masteritist… a Very Serious Golfers Disease

I thought I was really suffering big time over the past five days, with what I thought might have been the dreaded Asian flu.

Blame it on the changeable weather we have been having over here in Thailand, but I had the mother of all coughs, a cold and just lost all my energy.

Swallowing all antibiotics under the sun, it just would not go away, and I was really getting concerned.

One of the problems that goes with flu and a bad cough, is you really don't get into a deep sleeping pattern, so I was up most of the nights.

By day three I was getting desperate, so turned on the TV at 02.45hrs and caught the first round of the Masters live from Augusta.

Yes while they are having tea in Augusta, we are just enjoying breakfast in Thailand, so the TV schedules are designed for insomniacs.

On the screen, was Rory shooting a fabulous opening round, and my personal favourite Ross Fisher getting – 3 for 5th position.

IMG_0318Having recently played the Royal Gems Golf Cityhere in Bangkok, where they have replicated the back nine at Augusta, it was even more special to see these guys coping with Amen corner and that crazy par 3, the famous 16th.

Not all the big stars shone with Westwood playing average, which World No 1 looked like he was really out of sorts. Henrik was just not in the zone and finished a dismal last at +8.

Woods and Mickelson were still there fine tuning their game. Not a classic round but a great start for Europe with Quiros making a late charge to tie with McIlroy.

By Round Two I was starting to get my energy back and actually managed to sleep until I woke with a start, to switch on the TV at 04.45hrs. Rory was now -10, Jason Day had shot a great 64 and wait a minute, isn't that Tiger, 'Son of Thailand', on -7. Yes Tiger was in the zone and you could hear the TV commentators getting excited, anticipating that ESPN would be getting some huge ratings if he made a charge.

I would assume that having paid a shed load of Dollars to persuade Martin Kaymer to tee off in next's week's Malaysian Open, Maybank the sponsors, must have been wondering if they had made the correct decision as the German missed the cut.

Wow with all this excitement, I seem to be feeling better and the flu had definitely disappeared at last. Now I had another illness, and it might mean a few more sleepless nights. Masteritist had taken over!

Still at this rate I only hope I have enough energy left to cover the Maybank Malaysian Open next week in KL. Hey the tournament organisers may have hit their own jackpot if Rory wins in Augusta, as he will be walking around the KLGCC with maybe a green jacket!

Masters Means Armchair Golf This Week

Masters Means Armchair Golf This Week

With the low season here in Thailand just started, the green fees are now reasonable, the weather is still very pleasant and the courses are exceptionally green.

RM16-4 This is a great time to get the clubs out of the cupboard and head to one of 280 wonderful golf courses dotted around this beautiful country.

The Koreans have returned home to play in the own back yard so the courses are also not too busy.

But I am afraid this will not be enough to entice me away from my home this week.

No I have filled the fridge, checked that the beers are cold and from Friday onwards I will be glued to my flat screen….yes the Masters are back and so don't call me unless it is life threatening.

Not sure where you are but here in Bangkok we will get live coverage starting at 02.00hrs on Friday. For wimps there will be delayed coverage during the day, but somehow it just is not the same.

I hope I can stay awake until 06.00hrs on Monday April 11th.

This year Thongchai Jaidee has dropped out of the World's top 50 so like me he will most likely be watching on his TV set too.

My hopes are for a European victory with a wild card bet on Ross Fisher to win, and who can leave out Luke and Lee as well.

Anyway if you don't enjoy the tension on the screen, then I am sure you will find the odd hacker out on the course, wondering why the course is so quite! Enjoy.

Asian Golf Tour Comes To Hua Hin

Asian Golf Tour Comes To Hua Hin

Thailand’s royal seaside town and one of the best Thailand golf destinations, Hua Hin, will play host what promises to be one of feature tournaments on the Asian Tour. The Black Mountain Masters will be held at the Black Mountain Golf Club Hua Hin from March 23 and 29. It is the first professional golf tournament aimed not just to promote golf in Thailand, but also Hua Hin golf tourism; check out this FREE Hua Hin golf offer.

With a prize pool of US$ 500,000 on offer and an impressive list of  participating golfers, the professional golf tournament should be one of this year’s best. The new tournament is the first Asian Tour sponsored event in Hua Hin and will cement Hua Hin’s position on the map as an exciting golf holiday destination and excellent addition to other popular Thailand golf holiday spots like Phuket and Pattaya.

Along with the other premier area courses, such as the newly opened Banyan Golf Club and the Jack Nicklaus designed Springfield Golf Resort, the course at Black Mountain, voted best new golf course in Thailand, adds to the variety of choice among Hua Hin golf courses.

What I like best about this Hua Hin golf course is the picturesque “Black Mountains” surrounding the course and the landscape incorporating native red grass, which makes for some tough lies off the fairways. A lot of Hua Hin golfers have also provided positive feedback about the great variety of holes and challenge of the layout, especially the back nine par 5’s, several double doglegs par 4’s, and tough undulated greens.  The clubhouse is also of very high standard, serves great European food, and you can see practically the whole golf course while eating and relaxing after golf in the pub area.

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Honda LPGA Thailand Ladies Golf Event Comes Back To Pattaya

Honda LPGA Thailand Ladies Golf Event Comes Back To Pattaya

Honda LPGA
The Honda LPGA golf tournament will return to Pattaya on February 26. After a 1 year absence, the event will be held once again at Siam Country Club. However, this time the golf tournament will be held on the more challenging Siam Country Club, Plantation Course instead of the 2007 tournament site, the Siam Country Club Old Course. The new venue should make for some great golf, even if the scores are on the high side.

Two young pro golfers from Thailand, Thidapa Suwannapura, and 13 year old Moreeya Jutanukarn have been invited to play among sixty of the world’s top women players over the four-day, 72-hole stroke play with no cut in the field.

Some of the best players gracing the tournament are recent winner of the Women’s Australian Open Golf championship, Laura Davies; golf babe Natalie Gulbis; and Asian golfing stars Mika Miyazato and Shiho Oyama.

The very prestigious golf event, scheduled from 26 February to 1 March 2009, is also expected to make headlines as Rolex Rankings’ world number one Lorena Ochoa of Mexico and world number three Paula Creamer from the USA, two superstars in women’s golf are participating.

The tournament offers a prize purse of US$1.45 million, which makes it the wealthiest professional golf event in Thailand in 2009.

If you are interested in visiting Pattaya on a golf holiday and/or attending the event, please drop me a line at my Thailand Golf Vacation company and I will put something together for you. We have some great deals at other area top courses like Laem Chabang and St. Andrews Hill as well as a golf special at the Pattaya Marriott Resort & Spa.

Singha Thailand Open 2009 & FREE Phuket Golf

Singha Thailand Open 2009 & FREE Phuket Golf

Daniel Chopra
The Thailand Open will make an emphatic return to the Asian Tour schedule from March 5 to 8 at the Laguna Phuket Golf Club and boast prize money of US$500,000.

Having not been played since 2005 due to a lack of sponsorship the event is now back in full swing. The tournament welcomes on board Singha Corporation (as in Singha beer) as the title sponsor and the Thailand Convention & Exhibition Bureau (TCEB) and PTT Public Company Limited as premier sponsors.

It will be a full-field event on the Asian Tour and in another boost for the event US PGA Tour star Daniel Chopra will compete. The Swede is a two-time winner in America. The final 2 rounds of the Thailand Open will be broadcast live on Star Sports.

The event will showcase world class golf facilities, gracious Thai hospitality, and the great value for money that Thailand represents.

Voted in the top 10 for Best Golf Resort in Asia, Best Clubhouse in Asia and Best Golf Course in Thailand by readers of Asian Golf Monthly magazine, Laguna Phuket Golf Club features a wealth of scenic lagoons, coconut groves and undulating fairways, set against the dramatic backdrop of the surrounding mountains and Andaman Sea.

Coincidentally, the Thailand Open was last played in Phuket when New Zealander Richard Lee lifted the title in 2005 at Blue Canyon Country Club.

Sponsored by Golfasian and the Tourism Authority of Thailand, you can win a chance to play FREE in the Pro-Am, the day before the Singha Thailand Open 2009!

How? It’s simple, just fill out a Phuket holiday inquiry and be entered to win a slot in the Singha Thailand Open 2009 Pro-Am! Golf packages can be tailor-made and include all Phuket resorts and Phuket golf courses.