Kiradech keeps boyhood promise, picks old mate to play World Cup of Golf
Melbourne - Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat has picked his best friend and two-time Asian Tour winner Prom Meesawat as his partner for the World Cup of Golf next month.
Kiradech, who has become the first Thai to earn a PGA TOUR card for next season, said: “We grew up together since I was a kid, went to the same school, had the same coach, we’re very close and he’s my best friend on Tour.
“Twenty years ago, we talked about maybe one day we could play together in a team event. With the World Cup of Golf’s regulation now allowing the top player to choose any partner from the world’s top-500, it gave me the chance to choose the guy whom I made a promise together.
“When I called him to tell him, I think he was stunned for a few seconds. If he was in the position to pick his partner, I’m sure he would have chosen me.”
World No 38 Kiradech believes he and Prom can strike up a formidable partnership and contend at The Metropolitan from November 22 to 25 ,when Australia’s Marc Leishman and Cameron Smith will start as favourites on home soil.
“As long as we can play as a team, I believe we can do well. Our games are very matching and suit each other. I’m very aggressive and Prom is conservative and plays it shot by shot. He’s got the best game plan on Tour. We believe in each other. In alternate shot, we have to know each other and trust each,” said the 29-year-old Kiradech.
Prom, who spent several seasons competing in Japan and Europe, will be making his debut in the World Cup of Golf.
“When we were young - he’s five years younger than I am - we played a lot of golf together, we’ve always said ‘one day we must partner in a team event.’ When he asked me for the World Cup, I’m just so happy to be picked,” said Prom, 34.
“It’s a nice feeling and I’m very honoured to represent Thailand. It’s very special to partner with Kiradech. A few weeks ago, we played four or five rounds together and he said “show me how good you are’ and I’m actually playing good golf now, and he quickly said I was the right partner.
“I think we can have a chance in Melbourne. Kiradech has played so well this year. He’s stepped on to the highest level We’re really proud that he’s bringing the Thai flag to the PGA TOUR,” added Prom, who is ranked 460th in the world and has eight top-25s on the Asian Tour this season.
The final field of 28 two-man teams confirms the inclusion of the defending champions, major championship winners and leading players from previous Presidents and Ryder Cups.
England’s Ian Poulter was among the notables selected and will make his sixth appearance in the World Cup of Golf competition after being tabbed by fellow countryman Tyrrell Hatton.
South Africa’s Branden Grace selected fellow Presidents Cup veteran and 2011 Masters champion Charl Schwartzel. The two men, who are both making their second starts in the World Cup of Golf, have combined for seven Presidents Cup appearances.
Two-time PGA Tour winner Kyle Stanley and seven-time PGA Tour champion and member of the victorious 2011 World Cup of Golf team Matt Kuchar will provide strong competition for one of golf’s oldest team trophies.
Following a four-stroke triumph at Kingston Heath in the 2016 World Cup of Golf, the winning duo from Denmark will return to Melbourne to defend their title, with Thorbj๘rn Olesen selecting 2016 partner Soren Kjeldsen.
The victory was Denmark’s first win in the World Cup of Golf, topping their previous best finish, as runners-up in 2001 by Thomas Bjorn and Soren Hansen. Their win made it the seventh time a European country has won the World Cup of Golf in the last nine occasions.