The Asian Tour made me who I am today, says Thongchai

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These days, Thongchai Jaidee is recognised by golf fans anywhere he tees up around the world.

The celebrated Thai golfer has enjoyed such a glittering career that in two years’ time, he will be eligible for consideration into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

As the only man in Asian golf history to win three Asian Tour Order of Merit titles, which is the pinnacle of the professional game in the region, Thongchai has also amassed 13 Asian Tour victories to date, of which four were events co-sanctioned with the European Tour.

In addition, the Thai legend has claimed an impressive four more victories on European soil, the last being the 100th Open de France in 2016. It is the most number of wins in Europe by any Asian golfer.

When he looks back at his career, Thongchai, who turns 48 next month, takes great pride in his achievements after rising through the ranks which included time spent as a paratrooper in the Thai army.

“The Asian Tour means a lot to me. I grew up with the Asian Tour … it was the road to professional golf. The Asian Tour made me and I’ll never forget the Asian Tour. I’ll always have a bond with the Tour,” said Thongchai during the filming of the Asian Tour’s phase two of its digital #whereitsATcampaign.

“Without golf, I don’t know what I can do. The Tour has given me a lot of things. It gave me more experience and gave me a good job to earn money.”

Thongchai’s success across the region means he currently leads the Asian Tour’s all-time career earnings list with over US$5.6 million in prize money while he has also amassed over €12 million on the European Tour.

Not forgetting his roots, the Thai has for years now funded a golf academy for underprivileged youths in his hometown of Lopburi in which he grew up in a two-storey wooden house during his childhood.

Thongchai, whose first club was made from a broken five iron head stuck onto a bamboo stick, will continue to support the Asian Tour with appearances across the region. He firmly believes the Tour will maintain its exciting growth and development, which has seen it expand its footprint to new destinations such as Fiji, South Africa and New Zealand.

“The Asian Tour is growing every year. It’s getting bigger,” he said. “I have a lot of memories. When I won in the Malaysian Open in 2004 (co-sanctioned with Europe), it changed my life. It gave me the opportunity to also play in Europe. I will always support the Asian Tour.”

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