In golf, size does matter. And if you happen to be Thailand’s Puwit Anupansuebsai, it becomes critical, especially if you have lost your golf bag on the eve of playing the biggest championship of the year.
A 22-year-old fifth year student at San Diego State University and the highest-ranked player from his country in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) at No. 45, Anupansuebsai arrived in Dubai on Saturday night to play in this week’s Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship (AAC). That gave him enough time to get acclimated to the conditions and get a couple of leisurely practice rounds.
The problem was, his golf bag never made it to Dubai.
Sunday was spent trying to chase the airline, and Anupansuebsai could only walk the course during Monday’s practice round. When there was no sign of the clubs that evening, he was definitely worried.
He could have probably tried playing with hire clubs, but there was one small issue. Due to his height of 5ft 3 in, all his shafts are cut down by 1.5 inches, and the shaft in his driver is 43.5 inches. Those specifications would have been difficult to get in any golf club.
“The local Titleist guy here told me that if I did not get my bag, he’d get me fitted for new clubs on an emergency basis. That reassured me, but you do want to get a practice round in with your own clubs,” said Anupansuebsai, who moved alone to U.S. at 14 years old to attend high school when he did not know how to speak even a single word in English.
“On Tuesday morning, I walked down for my breakfast, and there it was! My golf bag…standing in a corner. I literally ran to it. I have never been happier to see my golf bag.”
Anupansuebsai’s yardage book cover says ‘No Excuses’ – the motto followed by the San Diego State University golf team – drilled into their psyche by their coach Ryan Donovan. This was one moment he absolutely wanted to make his coach feel proud of him.
“It’s just our team thing. Our coach always tells us that quitting is not an option. They want us to own up what we do and be responsible for everything. So, there’s no excuse not to get better. He tells us to control what we can, and this was a situation where things were out of my hands,” added Anupansuebsai.
“I would have played with whatever I got and given 100 percent – whether it was a fitted Titleist set, or hired clubs. This is too big a championship to miss. I would have been disappointed, but I would have given 100 percent.”
And while Anupansuebsai was reunited with his clubs before the championship, his compatriot Sarut Vongchaisit had to deal with a golfer’s worst nightmare – his bag never arrived.
And yet, Vongchaisit, a senior at the University of Mississippi, started his campaign in brilliant fashion, finishing on two-under-par 69 in the opening round while playing with rental clubs.
“That’s better than nothing, I guess. That’s just one adversity I needed to face. You can’t do anything about it, so you’ve got to deal with it. That’s pretty much all I can do,” said Vongchaisit after the round.
“Sometimes you expect too much and like you’re so tense out there. But today, I didn’t expect a lot because I was using rental clubs. So just felt pretty free out there and had fun.”