Bangkok: Defending champion Thaworn Wiratchant of Thailand and Major winner Trevor Immelman of South Africa will be among the top stars headlining the US$750,000 King’s Cup next month.
Thaworn won the 2014 King’s Cup for a record 18th Asian Tour title and will defend the prestigious trophy against a strong line-up which includes the 2008 Masters Tournament champion Immelman.
For the first time in the history of the King’s Cup, the tournament will be sanctioned by the Asian Tour and European Tour at the Phoenix Gold Golf and Country Club in Pattaya from July 28 to 31, 2016.
At the age of 49, the evergreen Thaworn continues to shine on the Asian Tour where he has won the Order of Merit crown twice and notched 18 victories, a record on the region’s premier Tour.
With His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej celebrating his 70th year as the King of Thailand, Thaworn is eager to keep the revered trophy on home soil.
“It is a great honour for me to defend my title at the King's Cup. The King's Cup is such an important tournament for the Thai players. I'm proud to be a winner of the King's Cup and I'll do my best to defend this prestigious trophy,” said Thaworn.
“There are many young and up-coming players who will challenge for the trophy and I've not played my best golf yet this year. But it is different when you are fighting for the King's Cup because this is a trophy which you want to keep in Thailand,” he added.
Immelman, a four-time European Tour winner, will make a welcome return to Thailand for the first time since 2004.
“I’m excited to play in the King’s Cup. I’ve heard great things about the event and I’m looking forward to the challenge. The standard of golf in Asia has grown tremendously over the past few years which is great for the sport,” said the 36-year-old Immelman.
The King’s Cup, supported by the Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT), will receive global coverage on the Asian Tour’s extensive television platform which has a potential reach of over 180 nations and territories and 740 million homes.
Sakon Wannapong, Governor of the Sports Authority of Thailand stated: “The Sports Authority of Thailand is pleased and honoured to support the King’s Cup Golf Thailand 2016. This tournament is very dignified for Thai golf and we believe the King’s Cup will support and develop the game in our nation and also help gain more engagement and interest among fans from Thailand and around the region. This tournament will also promote Thailand as a leading tourism destination through the global television exposure that will be generated during the tournament week.”
Asian Tour Commissioner Kyi Hla Han was delighted to welcome back the return of the King’s Cup on the Asian Tour’s Schedule.
“The King’s Cup is a special event which Thai golfers hold close to their hearts as it honours their King. We’ve witnessed many worthy champions over the years and I’m confident we will see another great champion emerge during the week,” said Han.
Keith Pelley, Chief Executive of The European Tour, said: “We are delighted to be adding another tournament to the schedule, which gives those European Tour members not playing in the US PGA Championship an opportunity to compete that week. We had a very successful visit to Thailand in March - it’s a wonderful country with some of the most warm, welcoming people in the world, so we are very much looking forward to returning for the King’s Cup.”
“The King’s Cup is one of Thailand’s most significant golf tournaments. We are determined to maintain the importance of this tournament and make an effort to strengthen it in cooperation with the Asian Tour and European Tour in order to grow golf in Thailand, particularly to offer Thai players the opportunity to play in international fields,” said Methee Sudasna Na Ayudhya, President - Professional Golf Association of Thailand.
Chanya Swangchitr, President, Phoenix Gold Golf & Country Club said: “We are looking forward to welcoming both local and international players at our challenging championship course. We also strongly believe that it will be one of the most exciting and very competitive tournaments in Thailand.”
Lt. Gen. Kriangkrai Chaichumporn, President of Greatness Holding Company Limited, the promoter of the tournament, said: “We are delighted and proud to organize this prestigious golf event which is considered as one of our nation’s prominent events. We do hope that the coming King’s Cup 2016 will be beneficial for golf development and promote tourism in Thailand.”
The Royal Thai Army Radio and Television (Channel 5) will broadcast the event live on Saturday and Sunday for local golf fans.
“Channel 5 is pleased to be part of this international golf tournament. With our nationwide network and high definition broadcasting system, the Thai golf fans can enjoy watching the exciting golf tournament at home,” said Col. Thanathip Sawangsang, Program Director of Royal Thai Army Radio and Television.
The field for the King’s Cup will comprise of 90 players from the Asian Tour, 25 from The European Tour, 25 from Thailand PGA and 16 invite spots. Prize money earned from the tournament will count towards the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit and also on the Race to Dubai ranking on The European Tour.
The King’s Cup will be the second tournament in Thailand to be jointly sanctioned by the Asian Tour and The European Tour following the staging of the True Thailand Classic earlier this season.
2009 – Chan Yih-shin (Tpe)
2010 – Udorn Duangdecha (Tha)
2012 – Arnond Vongvanij (Tha)
2013 – Prayad Marksaeng (Tha)
2014 – Thawaorn Wiratchant (Tha)