Thursday, January 14, 2016

Team Asia

Press Conference

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Jeev, first thing’s first: Give us your impressions of the Friday’s fourball draw.

JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Really excited about this. In fact, both the teams are very strong, like I mentioned earlier. End of the day, I think whoever holds more putts, good course management, that’s where it’s all going to come down to. Both the sides are really experienced. But I still feel my team looks very good. I’m positive, I’m excited, and I believe in my team that they are going to do really well.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Thongchai, you were here two years ago as playing captain which ended in a fantastic ten-hole draw. Now back here as a player for Team Asia, partnering with Byeonghun An tomorrow against Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick. Talk about how you’re looking forward to the week.

THONGCHAI JAIDEE: I think it’s a very good pairing tomorrow. I’m going to play myself with my partner. I think it looks good on the pairings. I don’t mind playing with a partner, you never know who is going to be — what Jeev said, you have course management is very important. Because this one, match play, you can’t beat them — the most important is win is win. Doesn’t take anything different. Try to win every match. That’s the most important. But I know it’s not very easy. The key, everything we have to do, we have to win the match. That’s the key for me.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Moving to the local hero, Danny, the wait is finally over, starts tomorrow and partnering with Nicholas in the four-ball. Your thoughts of partnering with him in the third match against Dubuisson and Søren Kjeldsen.

DANNY CHIA: Feeling honoured to be representing Team Asia. I think I’ll be the rookie for this format and for this edition and this EurAsia Cup. I’ve got Nicholas on my back, so eases off me a little bit. Looking forward for tomorrow.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Wu Ashun, how has the week been for you as part of Team Asia? How are you looking forward to starting tomorrow?

WU ASHUN: It is really my honour to be joining the Asian Team. I’m very excited to come here, especially if you come to the Team Asia room, so it’s really a very good atmosphere to join with all the players from all the different Asian countries. I’m very happy to pair with Shingo Katayama to play tomorrow, because we been playing each other in the Japan Tour a few times, and he is a legend and he is really good. I’m very happy and look forward to play with him tomorrow and have a good result for the Asian Team.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Prayad, one of five members who played here two years ago in the draw. Just talk about what this week means for Team Asia, and especially for you to be in the team again?

PRAYAD MARKSAENG: I’m really honoured to represent the Asian Team, also. Very happy for Captain Jeev picking me this year. I hope my experience can help the team for the good result for tomorrow, and pairing with K.T. Kim makes me a lot confident because he’s steady and consistent.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Vice captain, looking at the draw for tomorrow, give us your overall views on how you think tomorrow you will fair on the golf course?

LIANG WEN-CHONG: Thank you for the invitation by Captain Jeev. I’m really honoured to join the Asian Team. We had a lot of discussion with captain about the drawing for the next three days. I think this should be an exciting game and the Asian Team really has the chance to compete with the European Team, and we had a very close competition. I think we are looking forward for that.

Q. You paired Danny and Nicholas Fung together, which is understandable because both of from Malaysia. But was there any temptation to maybe split them and let their course knowledge and home advantage be with two teams? And you’ve split Anirban and Chawrasia who have been very comfortable together. What is the thought process behind that pairing?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Answering your first question about Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung, I just felt to build the momentum, I need some strong players out there. And I think these two players, playing on this golf course and having the knowledge would be a perfect combination. That’s why I put them in the middle. If they are in the middle, and if the momentum is good in the front, I think the back half also picks up.

I think match play is quite different. So to make sure that when a player starts off well in the first few holes, and especially the groups which are strong, I think it feeds off on the other groups, too. So that was my main reason to put Danny Chia and Nicholas Fung together. Home course knowledge, crowds are going to come out, cheer them on, support them, and I think that makes a lot of difference when you’re playing in your home country.

I think my players are going to live up to the pressure to what all they are here for. They are here for a reason. They have earned this. They are good enough to play on the world stage. So I feel that they have got to enjoy this, and they have got to make the most out of it.

Anirban and Chawrasia, I just felt that Anirban has played a lot of golf with Wang during The Asian Tour days, and I just felt experience with a first-timer, he’s a young kid, and I think Anirban has had a lot of experience in the other team events. So I think that was good to combine an experienced player with a guy who has come out for the first time.

Q. We know that the draw itself was blind, but when did the players know the pairings? Did you tell them before we heard the official draw or did they know last night?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Yes, I told them last night. The players knew about it, the players discussed it, Liang and myself. In the team room we sat down and discussed the pairings and they were happy with it. They were comfortable. I think that’s the most important thing, for the players to be comfortable and happy who they are playing with.

And most of the players should know each other’s game. That’s why if you notice, I’ve got S.S.P. and Kiradech together because they play a lot of practise rounds in Europe together. For the last few years, they have been doing that. Shingo and Wu Ashun, they play a lot of golf in Japan together. K.T. and Prayad, Japan Tour again, they play week-in, week-out. Danny and Nicholas, they play in Malaysia and they know this golf course. Byeong-hun and Thongchai, they play a lot of golf together in Europe. Anirban and Wang, experience with a rookie.

Q. What do you say to your players to motivate them?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Basically, I just try to make things easy for them, make them feel comfortable, make them relax, make them happy. I think all of these players have got a lot of experience under their belts. Basically, I can only tell them what I saw today and we are going to discuss about this tomorrow what needs to be done. But the end of the day, these guys know it all. So basically I just try to keep a good atmosphere in the team room, spirits up, that’s it. After that, these guys know how to win.

Q. You’re very competitive yourself and active on all the tours that you’ve gone to. How is this different, you’re going to be a non-playing captain, watching people; does it excite you or does it make you want to go yourself and hit a few shots out there which you know that you can pull it off and if someone has not done it, or something like that — does it give you an itching that, hey, I want to be there in the middle of the action?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: For sure, it does. I’ve been watching these guys and I’ve been dying to play and glad I played the Pro-Am today. It does; when you’re a competitor, and you always want to be out there and you compete. Honestly, I think it’s more pressure as a captain than playing out there. Reason being, you’ve got a responsibility. You’ve got to make sure that the players are in high spirits and the momentum is on.

So I think it’s a responsibility I’ve got and I just want to make sure I can do the best for my players in my capacity and ability, and hopefully these boys are there — and I believe in them, will do an excellent job.

Q. Danny, winning titles here, does that give you the confidence you need for this week’s event?
DANNY CHIA: Yeah, the knowledge of a golf course, I’ve played here a number of times and won here twice. I think by making the team, it already makes me really confident about my game. It’s a match-play event, and again, it’s going to be a different type of format from what I used to play. But I actually feel quite good about it. I don’t have to worry about try to play safe here. I just try to go for everything and play against my opponent.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Thongchai is your highest-ranked player on the team and was a playing captain last time around. What sort of role do you see for Thongchai this week?

JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Thongchai has been very supportive and he’s been giving me a few pointers, because he was the captain last time. Experience is always welcomed, especially when you’re a captain for the first time. And also, I’ve known these players for a long time, and we sit and discuss, and Liang is also there, to make sure everything is done smoothly.

Q. You’re almost about to turn 50. What is the secret of your fitness and the fact that you play so well even at this age with the young boys?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: He already is 50 (laughter).

PRAYAD MARKSAENG: It’s easy: No drink, no smoke, sleep early, wake up early, exercise, easy.

JEEV MILKHA SINGH: That’s why his swing is so relaxed and he has such a good rhythm.


Q. The nights have been given over to you and your team. What have you done with them, these nights?
JEEV MILKHA SINGH: Basically, I want to make sure that everybody gets along with everybody, they are comfortable with each other. We mingle. We have a pool table and table tennis in the team room. Somebody is playing a video game and somebody is having matches on the table tennis table. I think that’s the best way to gel.

I think that’s the most important thing for the team. The atmosphere is really good. Everybody is talking to everybody. They know they are playing together and they just want to encourage each other and keep the spirits high.

We did go to the Japanese restaurant last night. It was fantastic. We went across. Today is courtesy of my Thai players, we have excellent Thai food coming in tonight. They are the experts at this, so I think the team is going to enjoy some good Thai food tonight.

CHUAH CHOO CHIANG: Jeev and guys, thanks for coming in.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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