From June 17 to 20, Thailand will host the annual Queen's Cup golf tournament on the beautiful, tropical island of Koh Samui at the spectacular sea view Santiburi Samui Country Club. Now a fixture on the Asian Tour, the competition has gained a reputation for bringing bright new golfing talent to the international circuit, as well as helping push Thai golf to the next level.Â
Held in honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit, this year's event also celebrates the King's 60th Coronation Anniversary which is His Majesty's Golden Jubilee. With royal patronage, the Queen's Cup is designed to give lesser known players the opportunity to compete side by side with some of the world's best and has already become one of the country's top competitions. A special pro-am tournament will be held on June 16, before the main event to givelocal amateur golfers the chance to compete with Asia's top pros Â
World class Thai golfers like Thongchai Jaidee and Thaworn Wiratchant, who is headlining the field alongside last year's winner Chinnarat Phadungsil, have already made great strides when it comes to showcasing Thailand's golfing talent on the world stage. Asian Tour Executive Chairman Kyi Hla Han believes building a close working relationship with the various parties in Thailand will continue to provide an impetus for the game to grow. Â
Sanctioned by both the Asian Tour and Thailand PGA and sponsored by Bangkok Airways, in collaboration with the Sports Authority of Thailand, the Queen's Cup made its debut on the Asian Tour last season and boasts a US$300,000 purse. Bangkok Airways will also offer a hole-in-one prize of 100,000 baht worth of air tickets. "We are excited to be associated with the tournament for a second year," explained Capt. Puttipong Prasarttong-Osoth, President of Bangkok Airways, "We have always strived to take Thai golf tournaments to an international level and we hope the event will draw a large number of golf enthusiasts, who will also help stimulate Samui's tourism." Â
Last year's tournament received plenty of coverage and was keenly followed by golf fans around the region. This year, highlights of the golf will be aired on the Asian Tour's own television channel, which reaches 40 countries globally and over 350 million viewers. The tournament will also be broadcast live on True Visions 62. Media partners include The Nation, Bangkok Shuho, Elite magazine and True Vision with official hotels for this year's tournament including Santiburi Resort, 4 Seasons, Samui Palm Beach Resort, Chaba Resort, Amarin Victoria, KC Resort and Mercure Samui Buri Resort. Other main sponsors of the Queen's Cup include Airbus and Santiburi Samui Country Club while co-sponsors are Tourism Authority of Thailand, Samui Island Municipality, PTT, Siam City Asset Management and Bangkok Hospital, Bangkok and Coke Haadthip.
By Jules Kay