Photo - Asian Tour
THONGCHAI PLANS TO SPICE UP GAME FOR OPEN CHALLENGE
St Andrews: Asian Tour number one Thongchai Jaidee hopes a constant supply of Thai food will spice up his golf game at the British Open which starts on Thursday.
The 40-year-old, holder of a record three Order of Merit titles and 12 wins in Asia, is certainly not feeling homesick or desperate for Thai food despite being on the road for the past two months.
Over the years, he has made friends around the world and this week, he is staying with the owner of a Thai restaurant in St Andrews. His wife Namfon has travelled from Bangkok to the Home of Golf to cook for him while caddie, Surawut Wannapintu is also quite handy with Thai culinary, apart from picking out the right yardages.
“I am very lucky to have friends all over Europe and the United States. They will cook Thai food for me or take me out to Thai restaurants. Also, my caddie cooks sometimes. But the Open this week is special as my wife is here and she’ll cook for me,” said Thongchai.
Food aside, Thongchai summoned his coach Peter Wolfenstetter for the year’s third Major, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary, to have a quick fix of his game, especially his putting.
While his ball striking has been rock solid, the Thai veteran is happy with his conversion rate and Wolfenstetter has watched over his star pupil with a close pair of eyes over the past few days.
“Peter is trying to adjust something in my swing and putting stroke. Working with him over the last few days, I’m starting to get a good feeling again,” said Thongchai.
The Thai veteran has also been hunting for the right putter to tackle the Old Course. Green speed is often kept at a relatively slower pace at the Open due to the weather elements and Thongchai knows he needs to adjust quickly to ensure a strong campaign.
“On slower greens, I need to look for a heavier putter. I’ve been trying different ones this week. We have tried to change something. Last week was tough (at Loch Lomond) as I missed a few putts and you start to lose confidence.
“Everything has to be perfect for this week. I’m feeling good and feeling comfortable being at the big events now. The weather is typical of Scotland and it’s something that I’m used to from my years of competing in Europe.”
Thongchai has featured in three previous Opens, with his best finishing being at Turnberry last year where he ended tied 13th.