By Paul Myers
The story of the career of Thongchai Jaidee could easily be made into a movie. In an age where professional golfers are winning tournaments as teenagers, Jaidee didn’t even turn professional until he was 30 years old. Despite that late start, he has gone on to have an incredible career, including 17 professional wins worldwide. At 45 years old, he is ranked 47th in the Official World Golf Rankings.
No golfer in the history of the Asian Tour has recorded more career earnings than Thongchai Jaidee. He has won 13 of his 17 career titles on the Asian Tour, the most-recent of which came at the 2010 Johnnie Walker Cambodian Open. In 2014, Jaidee won the Nordea Masters on the European Tour. Of his many accomplishments all around the world, perhaps the most impressive is the fact that he is the first Thai golfer to compete in all four major championships.
Jaidee is not a tall man, but he possesses plenty of power to compete on the long courses seen on the professional tours week in and week out. In limited action on the PGA Tour in the 2015 season, Jaidee is averaging 288.6 yards per drive. That kind of power, combined with a deft putting touch, has allowed Jaidee to remain highly competitive at the highest levels of the game well into his 40’s.
Speaking of his putting touch, Thongchai Jaidee seems to have avoided the ‘yips’ that many golfers struggle with later in their careers. So far on the 2015 PGA Tour season, he has faced a total of 69 putts from 4’ and in, and he has made every single one of them. Many golfers begin to struggle with short putts when they get into their 40’s, but that obviously isn’t the case for Jaidee.
Solid Performer on the Big Stage
In addition to his many wins on both the Asian and European Tours, Jaidee has also represented himself quite well in the major championships. For his career, he has played in 24 majors and made the cut 11 times. His best major has been The Open Championship, where he is 5-for-8 making cuts, including one top-25 finish. In his most-recent major, the 2015 Masters, he made the cut and finished tied for 55th.
It would be a mistake to think that the career of Thongchai Jaidee is drawing to a close simply because he has reached his mid-40’s. With a recent win on the European Tour and made cuts in five of his last seven majors, there is obviously plenty of game left in his bag.