Tournament: Thailand Classic
DP World Tour Rankings: Tournament 11 of 44 events
Venue: Amata Spring Country Club, Chonburi, Thailand
Prize Fund: US$2,000,000
Hashtag: #ThailandClassic #DPWT
Thai superstars Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Thongchai Jaidee are delighted to have the opportunity to play on the DP World Tour on home soil once again at this week’s Thailand Classic.
The DP World Tour returns to Thailand for the first time in seven years for the third edition of the Thailand Classic, last played in 2016, with the pair leading the home charge at Amata Spring Country Club.
Jaidee made history in 2004 as he became the first Thai winner on the DP World Tour at the Carlsberg Malaysian Open. The 53-year-old went on to win a total of eight titles on Tour, his last victory coming at the 2016 Open de France.
His rise to prominence blazed a trail for Thai golfers, with Aphibarnrat joining the DP World Tour after the first of his four victories at the Maybank Malaysian Open in 2013. The 33-year-old made his first start on the 2023 Race to Dubai at last week’s Singapore Classic after earning his playing privileges for the season at Qualifying School in November.
Also in the field this week are a number of stars from both sides of last month’s Hero Cup, including Great Britain & Ireland representatives Ewen Ferguson and Jordan Smith and Continental Europe teammates Nicolai Højgaard and Guido Migliozzi.
Thongchai Jaidee: “I’m very excited to be back on the DP World Tour in Thailand. We haven’t had the DP World Tour here for a long time, since ’16. This golf course is amazing, everything is good, I’m excited to be back in my home country. Everyone is excited about the tournament.
“The most important thing for me is that the DP World Tour is back in Thailand. For me, in front of my family, the fans, I really enjoy showing my game. It’s important for me, Kiradech and young players to be on Tour. I’m very proud to see this tournament back in Thailand and I’m very excited.
“I hope to see the younger players in action. Kiradech is getting better after injury. I played with TK today, he’s a good kid. I think good enough to play on Tour. I’d love to see the young kids grow up like that and make it to the DP World Tour or PGA TOUR. I hope this tournament gives him (TK) a lot of experience and learning about how to play with the European players, the good plyers this week. We’ve got a good field this week, a lot of young talent.”
Kiradech Aphibarnrat: “It’s really difficult for me to describe how happy I am right now. To be practicing, playing, in front of my home country, the fans, I really enjoy it. The week hasn’t started yet – I’m not playing my best the last few years – but so far it’s the most happiness I’ve had in the last two years. Especially seeing Thongchai back in the field, it’s great to see a legend back in Thailand. It’s one of the best feelings.
“I’m playing better golf. Still not the best performances since my first six or seven years on Tour. But it’s getting there. The last six months I’ve been going in the right directions, working on the swing and at home with my mentality on the golf course. I think because I moved back on the DP World Tour, I feel more comfortable. It’s like home and all the players are like family. The DP World Tour staff, referees and staff behind the scenes. It feels like I’m back home again. We have a lot of chat and I feel comfortable. It’s the Tour I belong on.”
Nicolai Højgaard: “Many positive trends in the game. I would have loved to have played a little better, but there’s some good trends and my form feels okay. I’m really looking forward to getting going again after a week off and working on the game. I’m excited for Thursday.
“I came here last night (Monday), I haven’t done much until now. Just cooked some local food with some Thai heroes, it was a fun morning, sweaty and humid, but you’re expecting that when you come to Asia. I’m really looking forward to it. It’s my first time and I’m quite excited for it.
“The course will be a challenge when there’s so much water. It looks like you want to keep it straight off the tee this week, then you’ll be fine.