Pattaya, Thailand: Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee is hopeful of unearthing more golfing gems from the Kingdom when the season-ending Thailand Masters draws the 2019 Asian Tour season to a close this week.
The US$500,000 event, which gets underway at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club today, is promoted by the Jaidee Foundation, which Thongchai oversees.
While he’s proud of how the next generation of Thai golfers have put the country on the world golfing map, the three-time Asian Tour Order of Merit champion is also aiming to help under-privileged golfers in his hometown of Lopburi and pave the way for aspiring youngsters to follow in his footsteps.
Although he is not playing in the Thailand Masters this week, the 50-year-old, who earned his full exempt status on the PGA Tour Champions for next year, is still a star attraction with fans, players and sponsors.
Thongchai said: “Promoting this event has been keeping me very busy, but it’s also very fun. I’m really enjoying myself.
“We have a very good field this week. I’ve always wanted to give back to the sport in Thailand and this is one of the ways I’m making my contribution. I really want to say congratulations to Jazz Janewattananond for winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit and breaking into the top-50 in the world.
“I’m very proud each time I see these young boys win a tournament. They are the future of golf for Thailand. I try to promote and stage the event like a major event so that everyone can get a feel of what it’s like to be playing against the good players.”
And as for his own plans, a considerable amount of his time will be spent in America in 2020. “I’m happy I qualified for the PGA Tour Champions next year. My schedule is going to be quite busy but I don’t mind it at all because golf is my life and I love playing golf,” he said.