KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia might have just found its own “Tiger Woods” in Gavin Green, said Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Green, 19, won the best amateur award and beat local professionals to clinch the best Malaysian player title at the Maybank Malaysian Open yesterday.
The Open was won by Kiradech Aphibarnrat from Thailand.
“Congratulations to the champion Kiradech and to our young talented player Gavin Green who has been the champion of the TSM (Tan Sri Muhyiddin) Charity Golf Foundation for many years.
“We have a tagline - In search of the Malaysian Tiger (Woods). And I think we are now looking at the future Malaysian Tiger,” he said at the prize presentation ceremony at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.
Muhyiddin said he was encouraged by the growth of the sports and such international championships in Malaysia.
He addied that its impact extended beyond sports tourism to other sectors such as retail, hospitality and trade and industry.
“Initiatives, supported by those like Maybank and the Malaysian Golf Association (MGA), which nurture the talent of young people and teach them the skills they need to succeed are vital in ensuring our country continues to make an impact on the world stage,” he said, adding that the success of the Open showed that Malaysia had the “facilities, ambition and expertise” to hold world-class events.
MGA president Admiral (Rtd) Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor thanked the Government for its RM2mil grant for the junior golf development programme.
The grant, he said, was being used to nurture young talent including introducing golf as an extra-curricular activity in seven primary and secondary government schools in the Klang Valley.
“The schools will be adopted by our golf clubs and the students will be later brought to the clubs where our MGA professionals will hone their skills.
“This is a new approach to widen our base on search of talents in the country and we hope to expand this nationwide,” he said,
He added that the mentality that golf was a rich man's game was fast disappearing.