Tour News

Big hitters play Thailand Championship

(Photo: Asian Tour)
Bangkok, November 27: Four of the longest hitters in world golf will tee up at the 2012 Thailand Golf Championship next week hoping that their prodigious length will carry them to victory at the Asian Tour event at Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi.

Bubba Watson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Luke List and Scott Hend lead the driving distance stats on the PGA Tour, European Tour, Web.com Tour (formerly the Nationwide Tour) and Asian Tour respectively, each averaging over 315 yards with the driver.

Of the four, 27-year-old American List is the longest, averaging an extraordinary 324 yards with the driver. With a win and three runner-up finishes on the Web.com Tour this year, List finished fourth on the money list to earn his PGA Tour card and an invitation to the Thailand Golf Championship.

Belgium's Colsaerts has also enjoyed his best season to date, claiming 10 top-10 finishes on the European Tour and victory in the Volvo World Matchplay Championship. His form earned him a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup where he emphatically repaid captain Jose Maria Olazabal's faith in him by carding the lowest ever round by a Ryder Cup rookie.

Currently at 35th in the world ranking, Colsaerts is looking for big things at next week's Thailand Golf Championship.

"My long game is really strong at the moment. I'm testing a new shaft on my Callaway driver and I'm feeling that I can be even more efficient. There is going to be some bombing at the Thailand golf Championship! Be ready"¦" warned the Belgian who is averaging 318.3 yards with driver this year.

When asked about the origin of his long hitting, Colsaerts replied: "I have always been pretty long. Since my childhood, my coach wanted me to play long, and I liked the idea. Driving is one the best parts of my game, but I like my putting and my iron game as much as my driving."

Slightly behind Colsaerts in the long-hitters league is current Masters Champion, Watson. The self-taught left-hander generates ball speed of up to 200mph, propelling the ball an average of 315.5 yards with the driver.

"I play my own golf; we joke and call it "˜Bubba Golf'. I like to hit it hard and take chances," said Watson when asked about his unique approach to the game.

One of the few professional players on Tour without a swing coach, Watson stays true to his philosophy of "practice, have fun and play your own game."

"Swing coaches may not be for me but I definitely think most players can benefit from taking advice. I support players taking lessons, as long as they don't forget to play the game and most importantly, have fun," said Watson, who finished fifth on the 2012 PGA Tour Money list.

Hend has won the Asian Tour's driving distance category in 2009 and 2010 and currently leads the way this season. The big Aussie won on the Asian Tour this year at the ISPS Handa Singapore Classic and will be hoping to use his length to good effect at the Thailand Golf Championship.

The big-hitters will tee up at Amata Spring next week in one of the best fields ever assembled in the Kingdom of Thailand.

Former world number one and defending champion Lee Westwood will be joined by former Major champions Darren Clarke, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen and John Daly in pursuit of the US$1 million total prize purse.

A very strong Japanese contingent led by superstar golfer Ryo Ishikawa includes Shingo Katayama, Yuta Ikeda and Hiroyuki Fujita. Kevin Na and Troy Matteson of the USA will also tread the fairways at the Championship, rubbing shoulders with leading players from Thailand including Thongchai Jaidee, Chawalit Plaphol, Prom Meesawat and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

Asian Tour