Tributes pour in for late Ramayah

KUALA LUMPUR: Tributes poured in following the death of Malaysian golf great M. Ramayah today.

Ramayah died at 10.23am at the Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM after losing his short battle against cancer.

He is survived by his wife Pathma and his 14-year-old daughter, Bhakialakshmi.

Professional Golf of Malaysia (PGM) general manager Nik Mustapha Mohamad said: "The late Ramayah was a good friend of mine. He was someone you could always count on.

"He was one of the longest-standing members of the PGM board of directors since its formation in 2010.

"He was appointed by the late Tun (Ahmad Sarji Hamid), the former chairman.

"Ahmad Sarji saw him as a golf icon and picked him for his vast experience and knowledge in the game.

"He was also trustworthy.

"Throughout his years serving the PGM, he gave many invaluable inputs for the Tour, which has grown to what it is today.

"He was also instrumental in developing the Kota Seriemas Golf & Country Club in Nilai.

"He assisted with the design of the course and other related matters. Not many people know about it because he did not go around and brag," said Nik Mustapha today.

Professional Golfers Association of Malaysia (PGAM) president Chong Chee Ming said Ramayah was a soft-spoken gentleman.

"Today is a sad day for golf. Ramayah was a soft-spoken gentleman.

"He was caring and always willing to share his experience of the game.

"Ramayah will be missed as a great player, a coach and a fine gentleman.

"May his soul rest in peace," Chee Ming.

Former national No 1 Danny Chia described Ramayah as a man of few words.

"I was not really close to the late Ramayah as we came from a different generation.

"However, he was quiet and did his talking on the golf course," said Danny, the only Malaysian to win twice on the Asian Tour.

"But given his great record, he was definitely the greatest golfer of his generation."

Ramayah dominated the No 1 position in the MPGA Order of Merit from 1976 to 1997.

Like many players of his era, Ramayah started as a caddie before turning into a player at 14. By the time he reached 18, he turned professional.

When he made his World Cup debut in Athens in 1979, little did he know that he would go on to make a whopping 13 appearances for Malaysia.

His best effort in the World Cup came in 1994 at Dorado Beach Resort in Puerto Rico.

He and the late P. Gunasegaran were third going into the final round but finished ninth overall — a feat that has yet to be surpassed.

One of the most memorable World Cups was surely when he played alongside Tiger Woods in the same group when Malaysia hosted the 1999 edition.

Tiger and fellow American Mark O'Meara ran away with a five-shot victory over Spain at the Mines Golf & Country Club.

Another high point in Ramayah's career was winning the Marcos Invitational tournament in the Philippines in 1981.

He overcame an accomplished field of world-class golfers, including Bernhard Langer, Gary Player, David Graham, Billy Casper and Sandy Lyle, to bag the title.

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