Sanya, China, April 7: The Malaysian golfing fraternity mourned the tragic loss of Arie Irawan, who passed away of apparent natural causes today. Arie was in Sanya, Hainan, competing in a PGA Tour Series-China event.
A statement issued by the PGA Tour noted: “Today, in Sanya, China, Arie Irawan of Malaysia died at his hotel of apparent natural causes. The official coroner’s report has not been completed. Irawan, 28, was in China playing in the Sanya Championship, the second event of the 2019 PGA Tour Series-China season. He had missed the 36-hole cut.
“The PGA Tour and the China Golf Association grieve at this loss of one of our members and share sincere condolences with Arie’s wife, Marina, and his parents, Ahmad and Jeny. When something of this magnitude occurs in the golf world, we all grieve at the same time.”
Due to the tragedy, officials cancelled the final round of the Sanya Championship and 54-hole leader Trevor Sluman was declared champion. PGA Tour Series-China executive director Greg Carlson noted that it was a tragic day in the tour’s history.
“This is a tragic day in the Tour’s history, and it would not have been right to play the final round. Through Saturday, we had experienced a great tournament and it’s a true tragedy what has happened,” said Carlson.
“Sometimes, though, things happen in life that are bigger than a sporting event. This is one of those times, and after consultation with sponsors, the golf course and tour staff in Florida, canceling the final round was the proper decision.”
A post on the PGA Tour Series-China website (www.pgatourserieschina.com) provided the following details: “Irawan was staying at the Sheraton Sanya Resort across the street from Yalong Bay Golf Club, site of this week’s tournament. His roommate, American Kevin Techakanokboon, who had already awoken and was getting ready for his final round, noticed Irawan was unresponsive in his bed. Techakanokboon called fellow player Gunn Charoenkul, who came to the room. American player Shotaro Ban also arrived and immediately began administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation, while Charonekul’s wife, Vichuda, fluent in Mandarin, called local emergency services. After 45 minutes of continued revival efforts, medical personnel pronounced the 28-year-old dead.”
Arie enjoyed his best season on tour in 2015 when he was briefly ranked as the top Malaysian in the world with two victories on the Asian Development Tour (ADT). He finished in sixth place on the 2015 ADT Order of Merit to earn an Asian Tour card for the following season.
A moped accident in 2016 put Arie out of the game for several months, but he made a strong comeback in 2017 and won the local PGM Tour’s season-ending Maybank Players Championship. Arie has been playing on the PGA Tour Series-China since early last year.