Event: 2014 Maybank Malaysian Open
Dates: April 17-20
Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Thursday/Friday playing partners: Alvaro Quiros (No. 256 in the world golf rankings) and Marcel Siem (No. 135)
Gavin Green’s 2013 finish: Tied for 22nd (6-under 210, tournament shortened to 54 hole by rain).
Malaysian Open Coverage: Click here.
By Greg Archuleta
UNM Assistant Director of Communications
Going home is a big deal for Gavin Green. Or rather, going home is a l-o-o-o-o-n-g deal.
The Albuquerque-to-Los Angeles-to-Hong Kong-to-Kuala Lumpur jaunt is only a 22-hour trip that Green made last weekend, but it’ll be worth it for Green for several reasons.
The first is that the University of New Mexico junior men’s golfer and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia native gets to spend a week with his family. The second is that he will compete in the Maybank Malaysian Open, a European Tour event from Thursday-Sunday in which big-name golfers such as Lee Westwood and Louis Oosthuizen will compete.
The third is that the tournament will help Green stay in competition mode when he makes the trip back to the U.S. and joins his teammates for the Mountain West Championship from April 25-27 in Tucson, Ariz.
The drawbacks: jet lag and adjusting to the 14-hour time difference between Kuala Lumpur and Albuquerque.
“I’ve made the trip back and forth several times, so I’m used to it,” Green said prior to his departure. “but controlling the jet lag is always the big thing. I try to get a lot of sleep on the plane because I don’t want to be awake in the middle of the night.”
The fact that jet lag and not competing against some of the best players in Europe is Green’s biggest concern bodes well for his chances at the event.
But Green has competed against top professionals before – Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Charl Schwartzel and even Jordan Spieth – and so the awe factor isn’t what it once was. He is one of four amateurs in this year’s field.
Besides, Green tied for 22nd in last year’s rain-shortened event, which would have netted him in excess of $29,000 if he had been a professional. If Green should win the event this year, he would forfeit almost $500,000 because of his amateur status.
“I’d be OK with that,” Green said with a bit of a laugh.
Green is more focused on soaking in the experience of playing in a professional event and using the tournament as a learning experience for the immediate and distant future.
“My game’s been pretty good (this season), says Green who ranked 27th in the latest Golfweek.com/Sagarin collegiate poll with two tournament wins (UNM's home event, the William H. Tucker Intercollegiate and the Lone Star Invitational). “I need to get more consistent. I played a real good round on the last day in San Antonio (Texas, where he shot a 6-under 66 to erase a seven-stroke deficit and win the Lone Star), but I haven’t had a lot of those rounds.
“I’m working on some things, trying to be more patient and manage my emotions throughout the round.”
His caddie should be able to help him with that this week – Lobo coach Glen Millican has made the trip to Malaysia to help Green for the second year in a row.
“Gavin’s played some pretty solid golf; he just hasn’t always gotten the results for it, and that can be frustrating,” Millican said. “But when he gets it going, he’s hard to beat.”
Green likes having a familiar face on his bag.
“He follows me a lot in our (team) tournaments, so it’ll be nice to have him with me here. It’s another calming influence.
Millican said Green’s appearance at an event such as the Malaysian Open gives the program international exposure, which helps the program’s brand.
“It’s big for us to get that kind of attention,” Millican said.
Green’s goal, as it was last season, is to finish in the top 20. And to spend as much time with his family as possible.
“The tournament doesn’t have a crazy difficult schedule,” he said, “so after the rounds, I get to hang out with my family, which is nice.”
Green knows that once he gets back – catching up with his school work and getting ready for UNM’s postseason play – his schedule will be a tad more crazy difficult.
There won’t be time for jet lag.