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Asian Tour's Calvin Koh shares his favourite underdog stories regarding some of the Asian golf ’s leading stars.
Underdog stories regarding some of the Asian golf’s leading stars.
Sports offers the purest of all human emotions, and it’s real as it gets. It’s not fake and does not set out to deceive. I had the privilege of getting up close and personal with many of golf’s leading stars in my last decade with the Asian Tour. Each had compelling stories to tell and being given uncensored access to the trappings of their minds; there’s always a life lesson to learn.
Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit champion Gavin Green of Malaysia sat through a rollercoaster ride of emotions in 2017.
From being denied yet another win and learning the passing of his grandfather at the Shinhan Donghae Open in Korea, Green showed great character, picked himself up and would go on to clinch his maiden title at the Mercuries Taiwan Masters two weeks later.
As the young Malaysian would describe, ‘the defeat in Korea was hard’, but it was never too tough for him to ‘try harder and win’.
It was a great comeback story that would be retold to future generations to come.
I love the underdog stories as they show that even superheroes can be brought down to earth.
Unheralded Korean Younghan Song emerged as the man who rewrote the headlines when he held his nerve to pull off a one-shot triumph over former world number one Jordan Spieth to lift the SMBC Singapore Open title in 2016.
His takeaway from the winner’s press conference was not one that speaks of his sense of entitlement but a priceless selfie with Spieth, which was enough to be kept in his memory and photo bank for a very long time.
Form is temporary, but class is permanent.
Losing form or confidence is all part and parcel of sports as many golfers will attest. While wins will be celebrated and remembered, what will be imprinted into the minds of people is a character too.
India’s S.S.P. Chawrasia led for three rounds at the UBS Hong Kong Open but fell short on the final day for what would be another incredible victory outside India. But even in defeat, Chawrasia accepted his loss was ‘part of the game’ and he would ‘do better the next time around’. The humble Indian is a son of greenkeeper in Delhi. He went through his own struggles but stayed true to his humble grounds.
Sport, in its purest sense, is a mirror and reflection of ourselves as a human being. It tells a lot about oneself.
To these guys, take your bow as you have exemplified the true meaning of sports.
The Asian Tour will return to China for the inaugural Asia Pacific Classic, which is slated to take place at the St. Andrews Golf Club in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, from May 17 to 20. The US$300,000 Asia Pacific Classic, cosanctioned by the Asian Tour and the China Tour, will be promoted and operated by Beijing based promoter CGD (Beijing) Sports Industry Co., Ltd (CGDs).
The Asia Pacific Classic, which is the Tour’s second stop in China this season, will feature a 156-man field that comprises of 80 Asian Tour professionals and 70 players from the China Golf Association (CGA) and the China Tour, as well as six sponsor invites.
The tournament welcomes Rolex as its Official Timekeeper and is part of the Asian Tour’s strategic partnership with the CGA where the goal is to grow and develop professional golf in the region.
The champion of the Asia Pacific Classic will earn a one-year winner’s exemption on the Asian Tour while China Tour professionals, who join as associate members, will have their earnings counted towards the Asian Tour Habitat for Humanity Standings and the China Tour Order of Merit.
Pang Zheng, CGA Secretary-General, hailed the launch of the Asia Pacific Classic.
“The Asia Pacific Classic will present new opportunities for China golf and promote the growth of the game in Asia. It will be a great tournament and a truly competitive one for golf fans to enjoy as the players will do their best to challenge for the title,” Pang said.
Asian Tour CEO Josh Burack expressed his deepest appreciation to the host venue, which has been a long-time partner of the CGA.
“The Asian Tour is excited to send our players to Henan Province to compete with the China Tour players at the Asia Pacific Classic. The St. Andrews Golf Club has been hosting China Tour events for many years, so we are honoured to hold our tournament at their prestigious club which has been such a reliable partner of the CGA and Chinese golf.”
Fan Zhiqiang, Chairman of the St. Andrews Golf Club, is hopeful that the tournament will boost the golf industry in the region.
“We are committed to hosting professional golf tournaments and we will continue to help develop the Chinese golf and as well as sports industry. St. Andrews Golf Club welcomes all players to come, and enjoy the hospitality of the Central Plains,” he said.
Calvin Koh (right) hosts the press conference after Younghan Song (left) won at the 2016 SMBC Singapore Open
Calvin Koh heads the press operations and media partnerships for the Asian Tour.
Bowen Xiao, China Tour and Asian Tour full membership golfer