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NOTES FROM THE ASIAN TOUR

Amongst some of Chuah’s favourite stories was of Y.E. Yang beat all odds by trumping Tiger Woods in a glorious head-to-head showdown at the PGA Championship in 2009

Adieu After 18 Years

AFP/Robyn Beck

Chuah Choo Chiang, Communications Director, bids farewell after nearly eighteen seasons on the Asian Tour. The time has come to bid adieu to a wonderful chapter of his scribe’s working life. 52

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AFP/Asian Tour//Paul Lakatos

Thaworn Wiratchant holds up the Asia Tour Order of Merit 2005 award Thaworn then became Asia’s most winningest player with a record 18 Tour titles

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the travails on Tour. Working at three Open Championships at St Andrews, which is the home of golf, and walking the hallowed grounds of Augusta National for the Masters Tournament will surely remain with me for a lifetime. One of the best perks of the job, though, has been the privilege and opportunity to work closely with many of our cosmopolitan golfers who hail from different backgrounds, cultures and social standings. Stars such as Thai legends Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant provided a wealth of great narratives for us to share with the golfing world, while Korea’s K.J. Choi, Siddikur Rahman of Bangladesh, Chinese ace Liang Wen-chong and India’s Anirban Lahiri are just amongst some of those who offered fascinating tales that made the job as a storyteller all the more fulfilling. Amongst some of my favourite stories was

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"The privilege of being in a front row seat watching and chronicling winning moments and sharing the agony of defeat encountered by Asia’s leading golfers has been a money-can’tbuy experience."

Thongchai Jaidee and his son Titituch at the par-3 competition of 2010 Masters - the rise of Thongchai as a world-class golfer will always serve as an inspiration to many Asian youngsters

a poor finish and another Aussie player grabbing the arm and going eyeballto-eyeball after losing a tournament with a missed putt on the 72nd hole. All of these were certainly intense in the heat of the moment, but when the dust had settled, we kissed and made up and enjoyed a beer or two at the hotel lobby bar. And in all honesty, such minor job hazards have paled in comparison to the assortment of wonderful memories that I have garnered from my time on the Asian Tour. It is with crossed fingers that I hope the next adventure will be as fulfilling and rewarding!

HK GOLFER・AUG 2017

AFP/Don Emmert

F

rom Qua l if ying School in Ja nua r y 20 0 0 to my la st tournament at the Queen’s Cup in Koh Samui recently, it has been a wild and enjoyable ride being part of a team narrating the growth of the region’s premier tour and its growing band of gung-ho golfers. The privilege of being in a front row seat watching and chronicling winning moments and sharing the agony of defeat encountered by Asia’s leading golfers has been a moneycan’t-buy experience. From Switzerland to Singapore, India to Indonesia and Myanmar to Australia, there have been many bumpy planes rides on the 777s or propeller-engine aircraft, plush stays in five-star hotels and cheapish joints, and countless of breakfast buffets - some fit for a king and others as greasy as those offered in Chinatown - that I could write a book about

of Y.E. Yang’s historic first Major triumph for Asia in 2009. A late bloomer of the game, the softly-spoken Korean beat all odds by trumping Tiger Woods in a glorious head-tohead showdown at the PGA Championship which will be remembered for generations to come. My only regret was that I wasn’t at Hazeltine to witness this achievement. Following and writing about the rise of Thongchai Jaidee as a world-class golfer will also serve as an inspiration to many youngsters. After overcoming adversity where he threw away a lead in the 2000 Malaysian Open while chasing a maiden professional victory, he picked up the broken pieces to subsequently emerge as the first man in golf history to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles. And then, there is the evergreen Thaworn Wiratchant, who provided the thrills both inside and outside the ropes. Such is his unorthodox golf swing that I am sure no punter worth his salt would have had the foresight to put money down on him to become Asia’s most winningest player with a record 18 Tour titles. My best interview with him was also conducted in English after he won the Selangor Masters which he rarely offers to do! We have enjoyed, in recent times, sharing the inspiring stories of Siddikur Rahman and SSP Chawrasia, who both grew up in humble surroundings before becoming multiple champions. The exciting emergence of young Asian Tour number ones such as Seungyul Noh, Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Anirban Lahiri have all been fun and fascinating to follow where their fullest potential remains to be seen. One thing which has stood out for me is the fact new generation of Asian Tour players are now displaying the desire to become world-beaters. Previously, A sian golfers were simply happy to be in a world-class tournament but now, they go to these same events with the self-belief that they can win the title. Holding this job has also meant being adept to the mood swings of our most animated golfers as part of the role include leading them into post-round media interviews. Learning the art of cajoling and allowing space for players to cool down after a bad day in the office is certainly a pre-requisite. T h e r e w a s o n c e a n e pi s o d e w it h a Singaporean golfer who kicked chairs in the locker room after his overnight lead was reduced through a last-hole bogey. An Indian contender storming past this scribe following

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