Kiradech Aphibarnrat: Why did he change his name from Anujit Hirunratanakorn?

Kiradech Aphibarnrat: Why did he change his name from Anujit Hirunratanakorn?

Apparently, Asia has their version of 1991 PGA champion John Daly. His name is Kiradech Aphibarnrat -- at least, right now it is.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, however, was once known as Anujit Hirunratanakorn. Why did the Thai change his name when he was 16? Tradition.

In Thai culture, changing one's name is not only commonplace, but something a person could do several times in their lives.

In 2005, Kiradech's family ventured to a monastery in northern Thailand for a renaming ceremony. Not just for him, but for the entire family. Families can simply change their surname. Don't want to be a Hatfield anymore? By Thai law, you could become a McCoy -- well, if that surname doesn't already exist.

Thais became required under law to have a last name in 1913. However, under that law, people could only share a last name if they're related. There isn't an equivalent of thousands of different strains of the Jones family here in the U.S. Every last name is unique.

People change their name all the time, and not to name themselves after a science-fiction character. Rather, it's believed that the wrong name can cause bad luck.

As Kiradech Aphibarnrat, this Thai has done well for himself. He turned in his first pro win on the Asian Tour in 2011, then won the rain-shortened Malaysian Open on the European Tour this year. The win catapulted him to 85th in the Official World Golf Ranking, where he is this week.

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Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

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