Dubai: Even as Rory McIlroy battles Danny Willet in his endeavor to win the Race to Dubai by clinching the DP World Tour Championships, it is hard to miss the Asian surge on the European Tour.
Four Asians figure in the final field of Top 60 from the European Tour, and they are all in Top-20 of the Race to Dubai points list.
And the senior-most of the Asians here, Thongchai Jaidee, currently world No. 28, is convinced an Asian player will soon win a Major.
Till a few years ago, the 46-year-old Thongchai, and India's Jeev Milkha Singh, used to be just the two regular faces on the European Tour. That has changed, as the former Thai paratrooper observed.
"I really think we will have an Asian player winning a major very soon," said Thongchai.
"Just look at the European Tour. There was a time when only Jeev and me, and may be a couple others, would play outside. That has changed completely. I think we now have close to 10 Asian players on the Tour, and four of us doing so well in the Race to Dubai. It's just a matter of time. Once we have more players playing the majors, the chances of us winning will become bigger."
Thongchai also had high praise for Lahiri, saying, "He is a very good player. He has had a great year and I am sure he will do even better in next few years. He had a great PGA Championships and won twice this year."
Adding to the growing influence of Asian presence on European Tour is that three other players, Scott Hend (Aus), Rikard Karlberg (Swe) and Marcus Fraser (Aus) are also prominent members of the Asian Tour.
While Lahiri, who skipped two lucrative events Turkish Airlines Open and BMW Masters in Shanghai - on the Race to Dubai's Final Series is 19th, Korean Byeong-hun An is in seventh place and in with a mathematical chance to become the first Asian player to become the European No1. Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee is eighth and his compatriot Kiradech Aphibarnrat in 11th.
Between the four, they won six titles on European Tour, two each by Lahiri and Kiradech and one each by An and Thongchai. In addition, Karlberg also won one.
Thongchai and Lahiri also played for the International team at the President's Cup.