Asian golfers favored over Europeans at the Indonesian Open in Jakarta
Part of the charm of the European Tour is its threadbare, seat-of-the-pants quality which mirrors the harsher realities of life on this continent. Some of these tournaments - like the recent Malaysian Open and this week’s Indonesia Open - don’t even find sponsors until the month before they happen.
So I’ll be careful to mention the sponsor’s name of the PGA Tour.
So guess where the top European players will be playing? Certainly not in Jakarta, a hellhole comparable to, say, Lima as a place to be avoided at all cost. When I think of Jakarta, I remember that movie, “The Year of Living Dangerously” - which I’m sure most of the golfers scheduled to play this week have never seen or they wouldn’t have signed up for the tournament. That movie, starring Mel Gibson, did for Jakarta what “Psycho” did for showers. Enjoy Jakarta, indeed.
Because the field of Europeans is so weak the Enjoy Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open shapes up as another probable triumph of Asian golfers. Most of the pre-tournament ink has been devoted to defending champion Thaworn Wiratchant and whether he can duplicate last year’s surprise win. To do so he’ll have to fend off his more highly-regarded Thai countryman, Thongchai Jaidee or those Indian favorites, Jyoti Randhawa and Shiv Kapur. (While these are not household names where you live, they’re nevertheless fine players.)
But wait! Stop the presses! There’s yet another Thai that has many Asian golf fans excited these days – 17-year-old Chinarat Phadungsil, the reigning World Junior Champion. While still an amateur, Chinarat was the youngest winner in the history of the Asian Tour by capturing the 2006 Double A International Open. The teenage sensation turned pro after that victory and two weeks ago he finished tied for sixth at the Malaysian Open.
I plan to enjoy the Enjoy Jakarta HSBC Indonesia Open from my living room in Thailand. Unless an early monsoon screws up my satellite reception, in which case I’ll enjoy the rain.
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