Philosophical Thai Jaidee isn’t getting excited
He may have shot a 69 to jump into joint second at the Dubai
World Championship in playing his best golf for a long time, but
ex-soldier Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand is refusing to get
”If I don’t succeed, I’ll come back next year,” the
41-year-old Jaidee said after finishing the third round of the
season-ending tournament alongside England’s Ross Fisher and
Italy’s Francesco Molinari.
They are two shots behind leader Ian Poulter before Sunday’s
final round for the winner’s purse of $1.25 million.
Such winnings would be the biggest earnings for Thongchai, who
only turned pro at the age of 30 after almost 10 years in the Royal
Thai army as a Ranger, making regular parachute jumps and honing
his golf skills on military golf courses.
He learned golf as a young caddy on his home town’s military
course at Jompol Por, 90 miles northeast of Bangkok. His first club
was a 3-iron head stuck on a bamboo stick.
Was he excited about coming back on Sunday?
”Not especially,” was the reply.
Thongchai’s presence near the top of the leaderboard is no
fluke. He’s been gradually climbing the world rankings over the
past two or three years, winning four European Tour events in
Earlier this year, at the Desert Classic also held in Dubai,
Thongchai secured third place but his form dipped alarmingly after
”This week I’ve hit form again. It’s the putting, sometimes you
get a feeling about your putting,” he said. ”This is the best
I’ve played for months.”
Thongchai outplayed partner Martin Kaymer on Saturday, even
though the German is competing with Lee Westwood for the title of
top golfer in the world.
Unlike the garrulous European players, Thongchai’s style is
unobtrusive and he passes almost unnoticed through the tournament.
While crowds of journalists surrounded Kaymer, Molinari and Poulter
after their rounds, the Thai player slipped quietly away from the
golf course to get some more practice shots in.
Thongchai shot four birdies and a single bogey in Saturday’s
round, while his high-profile partner Kaymer lost his consistency,
eventually dropping into the water at the 18th and bogeying.
The closest Thongchai would come to acknowledging he was on the
verge of a famous victory was when he admitted the last round would
”I’m looking forward to tomorrow,” he said. ”I’m more
confident this week than I have been for a while.”