As we know, golf is an individual game and, although it may seem that Tour players have the dream life of playing the top courses in the best conditions, it isn't always as it seems; this interview with Kiradech Aphibarnrat shows the difficulty of playing away from home.
Speaking at the Korn Ferry Tour Championship, the 33-year-old stated: "I'm telling you that I've been struggling for quite a while now. For me, my back is against the wall, so I don't have anything to lose anymore and I think the difficult and tough thing for me is to be the only Thai player on the PGA Tour. I don't have any friends, I mean Thai friends, so we keep speaking English and not in my language.
.@kiradech opens up about the struggles of living life as a professional athlete. He's facing the adversity head on and is T2 through Round 2. pic.twitter.com/rn1Ydmgbh6September 3, 2022
Following rounds of 67 and 65, Aphibarnrat sat in a share of second. As he went in search to rejoin the big league of the PGA Tour, he went on to add: "To be honest I feel a little bit lonely and homesick sometimes. My family isn't here, I'm lucky that I've got my Thai caddie to fly in for the last three weeks so I can communicate in Thai, which I feel more comfortable with.
"I'm looking forward to seeing some new generation come over and play the Korn Ferry Tour event. I hope they are doing hard work and you know, one day, I hope to have some friends on Tour."
The Thai has four European Tour victories to his name, but has struggled for form over the last year or so on the PGA Tour, with his best result a T13 finish at the Wyndham Championship. During that time, he has missed nine cuts on the Tour.
Such was the stress of the Tour, Aphibarnrat almost quit his life in the States, as he admitted: "To be honest, here it's hard and I was ready to give up on living in the States. I just... feels too difficult for me. 22 hour flight home, no families around, when you're playing good you are not celebrating with anyone. When you're playing bad you're staying with yourself again, you can't explain anything to anyone.
"It's not a good time for me in the whole year, but I'm coming from Thailand, a small country in Asia. To be a part of the PGA Tour is such a huge honour and I think every kid in Asia, when you start playing golf, you saw Tiger, you saw Rickie, you saw Jordan, all the great players in the world play on the PGA Tour.
"For sure, you want to be a part of it and I saw Tiger playing in 1999, which he dominated every single event. I keep dreaming that one day I'll be part of the PGA Tour and then you know, 12-13 years later I make my dreams come true, but this road is difficult.
"You have to realise that this is the biggest Tour in the world, with the top players, so it's a lot of competition so you can't stay still, you have to keep working and improve every day."
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Matt joined Golf Monthly in February 2021 covering weekend news, before also transitioning to equipment and testing. After freelancing for Golf Monthly and The PGA for 18 months, he was offered a full-time position at the company in October 2022 and continues to cover weekend news and social media, as well as help look after Golf Monthly’s many buyers’ guides and equipment reviews.
Taking up the game when he was just seven years of age, Matt made it into his county squad just a year later and continues to play the game at a high standard, with a handicap of around 2-4. To date, his best round came in 2016, where he shot a six-under-par 66 having been seven-under through nine holes. He currently plays at Witney Lakes in Oxfordshire and his favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.
Matt’s current What’s In The Bag?
Driver: Honma TW747, 8.75°
Fairway Wood: TaylorMade Rocketballz Stage 2, 15°, 19°
Hybrid: Adams Super Hybrid, 22°
Irons: Mizuno MP54, 5-PW
Wedges: Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 Tour Satin, 50°, 56°, 60°
Putter: Cleveland TFI 2135 Satin Cero
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
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