Thaworn Wiratchant has confirmed he will be back to defend his title at next month’s Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open – and says he is relishing the challenge.
Asia’s Number One will spearhead a strong field at Emeralda Golf Club on March 2-5 in an event that is once again co-sanctioned by The European Tour and the Asian Tour.
Joining Thaworn in chasing total prize money of US$1 million will be fellow Thai Thongchai Jaidee, Chinese star Zhang Lian Wei and Ryder Cup legend Sam Torrance.
“Winning the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open last year was the highlight of my career so far,” said Thaworn. “It was always my ambition to win a European Tour event. I have great memories of playing in Jakarta and I am delighted to be returning to defend my title. It will be a strong field, but I will give it my best."
The governor of Jakarta, Sutiyoso, said Thaworn and his fellow stars would put on a feast of golf for Indonesian fans.
“The Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open 2006 will have a top-class field and will focus world attention on the city. It is a great chance for golf fans in Indonesia to watch at first hand some of the game’s best players in action,” he said.
“Last year’s event was a major success, even though it was organised in the most difficult of circumstances following the tragedy of the Asian tsunami. We are confident the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open 2006 will be even better this time around.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for Jakarta in particular and Indonesia in general to showcase their attractions to the rest of the world and portray themselves in a positive light.
“That is why the local government is delighted to be so closely associated with this event and why we are giving it our fullest support.”
The tournament will once again be promoted by Parallel Media Asia, Asia’s biggest golf promoter and a prime mover in resurrecting the Indonesia Open in 2005 after it had been dormant for several years.
The event will continue to be sanctioned by the Indonesian Golf Association (PGI).
“Golf is a boom sport in Indonesia and the Enjoy Jakarta Indonesia Open 2006 will give the game even greater impetus,” said H.E. Jero Wacik, president of the PGI and Minister of Tourism.
“The Emeralda Golf Club has magnificent facilities and will be a perfect venue for the tournament. We’re looking forward to a wonderful event.”
Thaworn’s five-shot triumph at Cengkareng Golf Club almost a year ago – his first win on The European Tour – was the highlight of a record-breaking season. The Thai star finished 2005 with four Asian Tour tournament victories and topped the Order of Merit with earnings of US$510,122.
Thongchai, one of Asia’s best-ever players, has a habit of making history. In 2004, he became the first Thai to win a European Tour event when he captured the Malaysian Open – a feat so significant the Thai government presented him with a diplomatic passport.
Then in February last year, he repeated the victory, making him the first Asian ever to retain a European Tour title.
Zhang, 40, the trailblazer for Chinese golf, has five Asian Tour successes to his credit and string of victories over some world-class players. He made history in 2004 when he earned a rare invitation to play in the US Masters, making him the first Chinese player to tee up at Augusta National.
Torrance, 52, boasts an incredible 21 European Tour victories and recently showed his game has lost none of its edge by finishing Number One on the European Seniors Tour.
He captained Europe to victory in The Ryder Cup at The De Vere Belfry in 2002, 17 years after holing the winning putt at the same venue which ended Europe’s 28 year drought in the event.
Torrance was awarded the MBE in 1996 for services to golf and the OBE in 2003 for his inspired Ryder Cup captaincy.