By THE NATION
Co-hosts Honda Automobile (Thailand) and IMG announced the plans on Thursday (October 31), linking the event to the government’s strategy of promoting sport tourism and aiming to be “the most sustainable golf tournament in Thailand”.
“Honda believes in ‘the Power of Dreams’,” said chief operating officer Pitak Pruittisarikorn. “We would like to encourage everyone to pursue and realise their dreams and have always believed that anyone can achieve great success if they are determined.
The 70 golfers in the event will included 56 professionals from the 2020 LPGA Priority List and the winners of the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions, Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, ISPS Handa Vic Open, ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Honda LPGA Thailand National Qualifiers and Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific Championship, all being held prior to the Honda LPGA Thailand, as well as eight invited players.
“Thai golfer Atthaya ‘Jean’ Thitikul won the Women’s Amateur Asia Pacific in 2018,” said Pitak. “We hope that, next year, Thai fans will continue to enjoy golf and cheer for their favourites.
“Last year we had continuous success and saw an increase in charity and funding throughout the tournament from our Charity Night and activities such as Beat-the-Pro and Chip-4-Charity, which allowed the spectators to play a part in the fundraising initiatives. The proceeds collected have gone to local communities and schools to improve the learning environment of children, as well as the Siriraj Foundation.”
Wiboon Champangeun of the Sports Authority of Thailand noted that the coming Summer Olympics in Tokyo will feature golf events for both men and women. “We hope the Honda LPGA Thailand 2020 will be used as a platform for Thai female golfers to fine-tune their skills in preparation for the Olympics,” he said.
Honda and the Sports Authority will again arrange “Road to Honda LPGA Thailand” events leading up to the tournament designed to further develop golf in Thailand as a whole.
It starts with the Young Ambassadors Programme in December, catering to students who have an interest in golf and sports management. Selected students will stand a chance of obtaining an internship abroad to work on more international golf events.
There will also be the National Qualifiers in January at Siam Country Club Pattaya, the winner of which will play in the Honda LPGA Thailand.
During tournament week, there will also be a Golf Leaders Conference to further equip industry experts with the knowledge and expertise needed for hosting international golf tournaments, and the Honda LPGA Thailand Junior Golf Clinic coached by pro golfers.
Pattaya Deputy Mayor Ronnakij Ekasingh said the city “is well prepared to host the Honda LPGA Thailand again” and the Siam Country Club Pattaya “is filled with excellent courses and is listed in Golf Digest’s World’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses list for 2018”.
“And we have five-star hotels and resorts, fine restaurants and beautiful tourist attractions.”
Tanes Petsuwan of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said the agency wants to “grow the sport of golf and sport tourism to boost Thailand’s reputation worldwide and attract more high-spending visitors to the country from Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and Singapore, as well as Europe and the US”.
“Last year we welcomed 38 million foreign tourists, among whom 470,000 were golf tourists who generated Bt6.3 billion in tourism income. We are proud that Thailand has over 300 golf courses of the highest standard and quality to welcome visitors. We also have Ariya ‘May’ Jutanugarn and Moriya ‘Mo’ Jutanugarn as brand ambassadors to help promote Thailand and inspire our next generation of golfers.”
Early-bird tickets cost 20 per cent less and are available now and all through November at www.hondalpgathailand.com. VIP tickets with access to the clubhouse are also available on the website.
This year, 9 MCOT HD Channel 30 will broadcast all four days of the competition. Check out www.facebook.com/lpgaThailand.