Jimenez relishes Thai return

Miguel Angel Jiménez confirmed his participation in the inaugural Thailand Classic at Black Mountain Golf Club in what will be his first time in the country in more than a decade.

The previous time the Spaniard was in Thailand he triumphed at the 2004 Johnnie Walker Classic in Bangkok. 

Since then, the 51-year-old has won 13 more times on the European Tour and despite his advanced age, has no intention of putting down his clubs for good.

"I love playing in Asia," the winner of 26 professional titles told the European Tour’s official website.

"I think the fact that I have won so many tournaments in this part of the world shows how much I enjoy competing here and when I saw that the Thailand Classic had been added to the European Tour tournament schedule it was an event that I really wanted to play, and so I am excited to be back.
"The last time I played a tournament there I won, so I have great memories of that. Since then I have not had the chance to compete or even take a holiday in Thailand. Our lives as professional golfers are so busy travelling across the world playing tournaments, so having a holiday is not something I have much of a chance to do very often, but I know this is a beautiful country and I am very much looking forward to visiting Hua Hin for the first time.

"The Thai people are so incredibly friendly, kind and respectful and are always smiling. The Thai food is unbelievable and I love to try traditional dishes in different local restaurants. I am always really interested in the local culture and I like to experience this as much as I can when I am not on the golf course."

Prior to next week’s event at Black Mountain Golf Club, Jiménez participated in three other events – the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii and the Maybank Malaysian Open.

"My game is in good shape at the moment and I am playing well," Jiménez added, having won in Hawaii at the end of last month.

"I am feeling confident on the course. I’ll continue to work on all parts of my game, spend a little time in the gym most days and then just enjoy competing, as I always do.  And of course, enjoy a cigar or two each day."
Whilst next week’s tournament will be the first European Tour-sanctioned event in Thailand since the Johnnie Walker Classic in 2007, Jiménez is full of praise for the manner in which golf has developed in the country.

"It’s amazing to see what an impact the top Thai players like my friend Thongchai Jaidee have made in the huge increase in the popularity of golf in Thailand," he continued.  
"This is evident in the number of new great courses being developed as well the wealth of talented Thai professionals in the top 200 best players in the world. These are very exciting times for golf in Thailand."