Even though he spent several years as a paratrooper in the Royal Thai Army, Thongchai Jaidee could never have experienced such a high as the one he enjoyed during 2009. A year that started with him playing a pivotal role in Asia’s first Royal Trophy victory in January just continued to get better.

Thongchai extended his record number of Asian Tour victories to 12 with wins in two of the most prestigious tournaments on the calendar, the Indonesian Open and the Ballantine’s Championship, both co-sanctioned between the Asian and European Tours. Those wins also propelled him to a record third Asian Tour Order of Merit triumph and 2009 earnings of more than US$980,000, becoming the first player to break through the US$3 million barrier.

Not surpisingly, Thongchai was also voted Asia’s Most Valuable Player by his fellow golfers, giving him plenty to live up to when he maintains his record as the only golfer to appear in every Royal Trophy event so far.

He said: “I have to admit 2009 exceeded all my expectations. It was a truly wonderful year for me and I am already looking forward to 2010 starting with the Royal Trophy.

“It is a competition that is very close to my heart being staged in our home Kingdom and most importantly we are playing the Royal Trophy which was graciously donated by His Majesty our Beloved King.

“Being part of the first Asian Team to defeat Europe was a magnificent way to start 2009 especially as I was able to partner my compatriot Prayad Marksaeng to two wins, and then follow up with victory in my singles match.”

Thongchai will certainly not lack support when the Royal Trophy gets underway at the Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi on 8 January 2010. He is one of Thailand’s best-loved sportsmen, a self-taught golfer whose success has been an inspiration to millions of people in his home country.

His story is a remarkable one. He did not pick up a golf club until he was 16, and after serving with distinction in the Army, he did not turn professional until ten years ago. He was already 30 by that time, making him one of the game’s later starters. But he was a quick learner, and within a year he was enjoying his first Asian Tour victory at the Kolon Cup Korean Open.

There have been plenty more firsts since then, as Thongchai became the first Thai player to win on the European Tour with his victory at the 2004 Malaysian Open, a title he successfully defended a year later. And when he was granted a special invitation to play in the 2006 US Masters, he became the first Thai golfer to compete in all four Major championships.

But Thongchai is not one to dwell on the past. Despite being such a well-established performer, he is entitled to feel his career is still in its infancy, with just a decade of top level golf behind him.

He knows he can still become a much better player – which is bad news for the European golfers who run into him at the fourth edition of the Royal Trophy.

“Thongchai Jaidee has consistently delivered great performances at the Royal Trophy;” said Lincoln Venancio, the Royal Trophy Managing Director.

“It is only natural that his participation excites the Thai galleries and inspires the young aspiring Thai golfers;” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The fourth edition of the Royal Trophy will take place on 8-10 January 2010 at the exclusive Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand. The Championship will feature a series of sixteen matches including the foursomes, four-ball and singles formats. The Principal Award for the winning Continent is stewardship of the perpetual solid-silver sixteen-kilogram Trophy, graciously donated by the world’s longest reigning Monarch – His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand.

The Royal Trophy is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited and organized in Thailand by Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd.

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