*By Calvin Koh, Head of Press operations and Media partnerships for the Asian Tour.
What defines a great man?
He is honest, humble, generous, polite, friendly and sincere.
These traits might not be exhaustive but it describes Arie Irawan, who is one of Malaysia’s brightest talents in golf.
In life, Arie was an incredibly popular player who gave the people around him so much joy and happiness.
But sadly, it was also a life that was quickly taken away from him when he was only 28.
The golfing community was spun into a state of shock and disbelief one early Sunday morning when they learnt Arie was found unresponsive in his hotel room with early indications of his death pointing towards natural causes.
The world has lost a good man.
Arie was a ‘bro’ to many, a cheerleader, a trustworthy friend who was well-liked by fellow players and staff.
A consummate professional, he was a role model for many and a true champion, who always competed with grit and gratitude.
He just wanted to ‘play good golf as always and that’s the only thing that matters’ to him.
I had the privilege of interviewing Arie on numerous occasions on Tour and never once was I ever left in doubt he was a perfect gentleman, on and off the golf course.
Arie’s sudden passing has left a huge void in the lives of many and the numerous tributes that followed just showed the imprints he left in the hearts and minds of the people who know him.
Golf, as in life, is never so scripted. If so, we would have penned a beautiful ending.
We know death will happen one day but yet when it does come somehow, it often leaves us in an emotional state of loss.
In Arie, he’s gone but not forgotten.
He has left a lasting impression in the lives of everyone he touched and we will always remember how great a man he was.