Malaysia Pro Gavin Green On The 2019 Maybank Championship

An Office On The Green

This 21-24 March marks the fourth edition of the Maybank Championship. Competing among the world’s top golfers is homegrown talent, Gavin Green. Having come up under the Foundation for Malaysian Sporting Excellence banner (SportExcel), Green claimed his maiden Asian Tour title at the 2017 Mercuries Taiwan Masters, after notching four top-10 results earlier in the year, including three runner-up finishes in India, Chinese Taipei and Korea. He became the first Malaysian to win the Asian Tour Order of Merit in 2017, with total earnings of US$582,463. Here he tells Robb Report Malaysia where his experiences at the Maybank Championship and the life lessons golf has taught him.

What are you most excited about for this year’s Maybank Championship?

This year’s Maybank Championship is definitely going to be unique! I’m most excited about the prospect of having the captains and vice captains of the Ryder Cup as well as the Presidents Cup in this year’s tournament. Each of them, namely Thomas Bjorn, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, and Miguel Jimenez are amazing in their own right and I am honoured to be in the same field as these fine gentlemen. Plus, all the top guys from the tours will also be competing, so, I am looking forward to the high level of competition.

What is your favourite memory since turning pro?

There are so many and it’s really difficult to pinpoint one favourite! Winning the Asian Tour Order of Merit win in 2017 and being the first Malaysian to do so is right up there. However, making it to the Olympics and qualifying for The Open last year at Carnoustie are also memorable moments in my book. Another personal favourite moment is organising my very own junior tournament last December (actually my parents did most of the organizing). Called the Gavin Green-SportExcel Junior Amateur, we had a fantastic turnout and I was very, very pleased to have been able to give back to the golfing community and to inspire junior golfers to excel in this fantastic game.

How has your partnership with Maybank helped you tap into your true potential as a golfer?

Maybank has been amazing! They have been with me through thick and thin since the day I turned pro. I am truly humbled to have had Maybank’s support and I’ve never been prouder to carry the Maybank logo on my cap as their ASEAN Ambassador! Maybank and the Maybank Championship has opened many doors for me throughout my career as it is a great platform for me to meet other world-class players and represent our beautiful country.

What is your favourite thing about being on tour?

It’s very exciting! I love the fact that I am able to do something I love so much for a living! My office is sometimes in the middle of incredible greenery like the courses in Asia, sometimes in deserts like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, sometimes on mountain tops surrounded by the Alps, sometimes by the glorious Mediterranean sea, and even sometimes in the middle of the city. Every week is a different view, a different golf course, different conditions and in fact, a different country. I get to experience all these and play golf for a living! How cool is that?

What’s needed to grow the sport here in Malaysia?

I am very proud to say that the Maybank Championship has made significant inroads in this area by providing juniors with lots of exposure to golf at this level from “Inside the Ropes” access to other activities centered at the pavilion. I believe that access to golf courses at more reasonable prices and tournament opportunities will help elevate the standard of play. Furthermore, it will be nice for golf to be part of the school co-curriculum. Countries like the United States have golf programs as part of the school co-curriculum, moulding juniors to become strong amateur players at the college level, and to one day play on the Tour.

What is your favourite feature about Saujana?

The Maybank Championship has always been competed on the Palm Course or nicknamed the ‘Cobra Course’. It’s known for its sloping greens and undulating fairways and has been described as one of the toughest in the world to play on, with its tight, palm-lined fairways and fast tricky greens.

My favourite feature about the Palm Course would have to be the notable the monster 605-yard Par 5. The green has a magnificent look and feel to it, but don’t let that deceive you. The tee shot plays downhill where you often come across monkeys. The green is elevated, so the approach shot is difficult. The green is also double-tiered with subtle slopes, making putting even more demanding. I feel that the challenging hole has a reputation for being an exacting test, but if you master it the feeling is very satisfying.

Outside of Malaysia what has been your most memorable course and why?

Again, this is a tough one to choose one course! I love Torrey Pines in San Diego, California. Junior World, which is one of the largest junior tournaments in the world, is held there and I pulled off some pretty memorable shots there. I also have a thing for Carnoustie as I played my first Open Championship there. Not forgetting the home of golf, St Andrews Old Course, that is definitely a wow!

Your most important life lesson as a golfer?

All my success in golf and in life would have to come from the opportunities and support I’ve received over the years, especially from my family. Without them, I would not be the man I am today. The sacrifices in terms of money and time, the commitment in providing me with opportunities to excel and most importantly, establishing the love I have for golf, without which I would not have had the passion and drive to succeed in achieving my goals.

It’s important to always stay true to your roots, and I am thankful for the support that my team and my sponsors have extended me. Most importantly, they’ve been some of the pillars of my success and have helped me to become a much better golfer and even better person.

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