| Tour In­sider

Asian Tour's Calvin Koh shares his favourite un­der­dog sto­ries re­gard­ing some of the Asian golf ’s lead­ing stars.

HK Golfer - - Contents - By Calvin Koh

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

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