Taichi Kho plays his first event as a professional golfer at Laguna National this week
The 22-year-old made the decision to leave the amateur ranks with a year full of tournaments
Taichi Kho is playing his first major tournament as a professional at the Singapore Classic and said it was “a really difficult decision” to leave the amateur ranks.The Hong Kong golfer won a qualifying tournament in December to be accepted into the DP World Tour event and achieved full status on the Asian Tour last month, but only made the decision to make the switch a few days ago.
And while Kho, who played college golf at the University of Notre Dame, said the choice was difficult, participating in a $2 million tournament was an opportunity that “really can’t be missed.” .”I feel like most of my ability to play golf at a professional level is attributed to them [Notre Dame], so it was really hard to leave,” Kho said. “But you know, we’ve weighed our options and realized that this is an opportunity we can’t really miss. It made the most sense and it’s the best decision for me to take the opportunity when she’s here.”
After participating in several high-profile events in 2022 as an amateur, including several in the Asian Tour’s International Series, Thursday’s tournament marks another step in a journey that has really taken off after the Asia-Pacific Amateur Championship in 2021.
Kho finished second behind Japan’s Keita Nakajima in a playoff at Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, and according to Cho Minn Thant, the CEO of the Asian Tour, he “received a lot of invitations because of that.””To return to my last day at the AAC, I couldn’t have planned any of this in advance of the week,” Kho said.
“All I really focused on was trying to improve, improving my game a little bit every day and the whole week I played randomly, and it brought a lot of opportunities and that’s just the game, isn’t it? It’s pretty much what happens to the best golfers in the world.
“It’s just about taking every opportunity, trying to improve yourself, and sometimes it goes in your direction, sometimes not, but you’re really just trying to give yourself the best chance to play well.”
Kho has already said that he wants to give himself as many chances as possible to compete around the world, and while some players are forced to choose sides between the game’s leading tours in the ongoing civil war, there is more freedom for those who are just starting out.
“A lot of guys will play the Asian Tour one week, the DP World Tour the following week, they’re doing the best for their careers,” Cho said. “If they can meet their membership requirements on the Asia tour, it’s not really my business what they do with the rest of their time.”
A place in the top 30 in the Tour’s Q-School should take Kho to most full-field events this season, and he’s already on the reserve list for next month’s New Zealand Open. Add to that the trifle of the World City Championship in Hong Kong at the end of March and the Hong Kong Open in November, where Kho will probably be one of three professionals alongside Matthew Cheung and Leon D’Silva.
“I’m really looking forward to the upcoming season,” said Kho. “I’ve been dreaming about this all my life, so it’s really great to have the opportunity to do that for a whole year.” The 22-year-old has no illusions about the changeability of his career and knows that there are “ups and downs” even in a good year. So even though he’s likely to face “some really tough times,” he’s ready to embark on a career “that brings both.” Having his father Victor as a caddy has helped bring a certain level of comfort in turbulent 12 months that Kho appreciates, though he also acknowledges that it can’t last forever.
For this reason, it will be another “great memory” to have his father at the bag this week at the Laguna National Golf Resort Club. “We agree on my game, so it feels like a team effort,” Taichi Kho said. “And at the end of the day, it’s also nice to spend time with him because I haven’t really seen much of him in recent years.”