KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian golf fraternity is praying for ailing national golf great M. Ramayah.
Ramayah, who has represented Malaysia at the World Cup of Golf a record 13 times, has been bed-ridden for some time and is currently being treated for bed sores at a hospital in Kuala Lumpur.
The 68-year-old is reported to have exhausted his savings to treat a yet-to-be identified illness. He is scheduled to undergo an magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan to determine if he is suffering from cancer.
Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) general manager Nik Mustapha Nik Mohamad said Ramayah has been suffering from a rib injury since last November which has worsened.
"We don't really know the extent of his condition. I visited him on Monday and spoke to his brother-in-law and I was told that he would be put through an MRI scan," said Nik today.
"What I do know is that he first sustained the injury when he lifted a golf bag. He had been seeking treatment at a clinic but eventually his condition worsened.
"He was even hospitalised at one point and was advised to undergo an MRI scan, which he refused (at the time).
"I don't think we should speculate whether it is cancer until we get the actual diagnosis.
"PGM will definitely look after Ramayah's welfare, he is a board member."
Professional Golfers Association of Malaysia (PGAM) president Chong Chee Ming said they are planning to organise a charity golf tournament to raise funds for Ramayah.
"I visited him yesterday and it saddened me to see his condition. I am just glad to know he is being cared for by his loved ones. PGAM are praying for him," said Chee Ming.
"He has been a household name in Malaysian golf for decades and his talent in the game is recognised internationally. Besides working as an academy instructor he was still competing actively on the local tour in recent years.
"We're trying our best to assist him and are planning to hold a fundraising event.
"Those who want to pledge their support and make a difference for Ramayah can refer to our social media for an update. We will provide the details soon."
Meanwhile, National Athletes Welfare Foundation (Yakeb) chairman Datuk Noorul Ariffin Abdul Majeed has assured Ramayah of financial assistance.
In his heyday, Ramayah dominated the No 1 position in the MPGA Order of Merit from 1976 to 1997.
Like many players of his era, Ramayah started out as a caddie and turned professional at 18. He made his World Cup debut in Athens in 1979 and went on to make 13 appearances for Malaysia in the tournament.
His best effort in the World Cup came in 1994 at Dorado Beach Resort in Puerto Rico. Joining forces with the late P. Gunasegaran, he entered the final round in third place but went on to finish ninth. The feat that has yet to be surpassed.
Ramayah also played in the same flight as Tiger Woods when Malaysia hosted the 1999 edition.
He is also known for having a close shave with death three times as he survived a plane crash, car accident and nearly killed by a gunshot.