Mon Feb 25 2013Han haisl- great moment - as Thaworn gets 10th season underway
Reigning number one Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand got the Asian Tour’s 10th season underway at the Zaykabar Myanmar Open presented by Alpine this morning, with the Tour’s Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han hailing it as a “great moment in Asia.”
The region’s premier Tour, which was launched as a players’ organisation in 2004 similar to the PGA Tour and European Tour, is celebrating 10 years of excellence throughout 2013.
Han said: “It’s a great moment in Asia. It has been a fantastic past nine years and golf is booming over here. The interest level in golf is high and we are looking forward to our next 10 years.
“When we started out in 2004, we offered over US$12 million in total prize money and now, it’s US$44 million plus every year and growing. It’s been a big move forward for the Asian Tour.”
The Tour supremo was delighted to see three of the Tour’s leading stars get the historic occasion underway at the Royal Mingalardon Golf and Country Club. Thai veteran Boonchu Ruangkit and Singaporean ace Mardan Mamat were in the opening match alongside Thaworn, who holds a record 15 Asian Tour wins.
“Thaworn has been one of the leading stalwarts of the Asian Tour over the years and he deserves the honour of hitting the first shot of our 10th season. It is also fantastic to see Boonchu still going at it as he struck our first tee shot in 2004 while Mardan was one of our early board members when we first launched the Tour.
“These days, it is also great to see young players coming through and it is a good opportunity for them to establish their careers. Back in the 1980s and 1990s, professional golf was a tough career but now, it can be very good for the guys,” said Han, who was Asia’s number one in 1999.
“We used to try to travel abroad to try to play with the top players but these days, the top players are coming over to Asia to play in our tournaments which reflects our appeal. This will help further develop our players and give them the opportunity to beat them.
“We want to continue developing world-beaters.”
Not only did Thaworn hit the opening drive, he also made the first birdie of the Asian Tour’s 10th season on the 10th green.