How do you say, “Avoid the bleachers and the burn?” in Thai?
It may not come to that, but Frenchman Jean Van de Velde is playing in the Asian Tour Qualifying School that started today in Thailand.
The runner-up and spectacular protagonist from the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie, where he blew a three-stroke lead on the 72nd hole, Van de Velde is on the back nine of his career now. The two-time European Tour champ is 43 and has been limited by injuries and illness in recent years, most notably recurring knee pain after two surgical reconstructions.
This week Van de Velde will have to overcome a recent bout of food poisoning while trying to qualify at two Jack Nicklaus-designed courses.
The playful Frenchman said he has decided to play more in Asia “because my wife and kids are based in Hong Kong and Asia is where my life is now. … I need a change of scenery as well. After playing 20 years in Europe, I decided that it is time to do something different.”