Thongchai Jaidee

The brilliant Thai, winner of four European Tour events, talks to Alex Jenkins about playing with Colin Montgomerie, his compassion for Tiger Woods, the state of his own game and his life as a paratrooper in the Thai Army

HKG: Aside from everything else, you're also president of the Thai PGA. What have you been doing in your role there?
TJ: There are 14 pro events in Thailand, of which two are on the Asian Tour. I want to create more opportunities for Thai pros to play in big events. I want to have big tournaments – I want to make a "Masters of Thailand" – for Thai golfers to experience. We have the King's Cup and the Queen's Cup [Asian Tour events with limited purses] but we should have more. I am working on this. I am trying to make things better.

HKG: And you also have your own golf academy for children ...
TJ: I have an academy and a foundation in my home town of Lop Buri [150km from Bangkok]. The foundation is to give poor kids a chance of education and golf and the academy is for good young golfers to become better through proper coaching. It costs THB6 million [approximately HK$1.5 million] per year to run and we started it in 2000. Ecco gives 100 pairs of shoes per year, which is a big help. It means all the kids can wear proper golf shoes. I'm very proud of what we've done there.

HKG: What's next for Thongchai Jaidee?
TJ: Win again. Once my back is fixed I'll be ready again.

HKG: Will that be in time for the UBS Hong Kong Open?
TJ: Maybe. I hope so. I love Hong Kong [laughs].


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