Bored Kiradech makes Asian Tour return despite knee problem

Wed Sep 24, 2014 6:11am EDT
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TOKYO (Reuters) - Reigning Asian Tour Order of Merit winner Kiradech Aphibarnrat will risk his injured knee at this week's Asia-Pacific Open in Japan after getting bored of sitting on the sidelines for seven weeks.

The Thai has not played since quitting his second round at the U.S. PGA Championship last month after eight holes because of the problem but opted against surgery.

Kiradech, who also suffers from a long-term thyroid problem, first underwent knee surgery at the age of 10 and decided that a period of rest and physiotherapy would be best to quell the long term pain.

"My knee's getting better. I can say it's about 80 percent better now," he said from Ibaraki Prefecture, north of Tokyo, on Wednesday.

"I just want to get back into shape, play all four rounds without aggravating my injury."

The Thai, whose family changed his name from Anujit Hirunratanakorn to improve his luck, said he had been following the action on Tour and found it tough staying away from the course.

"I was getting bored at home and I just want to be out here again. I miss being in competition and being around my friends," he said.

"I watched the European Masters on TV and I thought to myself that I should be there as well.

"It's one of the most beautiful golf courses on the Asian Tour. It was great to see David Lipsky win and I really hope to be back in the winner's circle again."   Continued...

Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat tees off on the 11th hole during the first round of the 2013 PGA Championship golf tournament at Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, New York August 8, 2013. REUTERS/Mathieu Belanger