Malaysian golfer Arie Irawan died in his hotel room aged 28 while competing at a tournament in China, with “early indications” suggesting it was due to natural causes.
Irawan missed the cut at the Sanya Championship but remained on the island, according to a statement on the PGA Tour Series China’s website.
As recounted by the governing body, his roommate Kevin Techakanokboon — getting ready for the final round — noticed Irawan wasn’t moving in his bed Sunday and called another player for assistance.
Later, local emergency services arrived but after 45 minutes of trying to revive Irawan, he was pronounced dead.
“Early indications” are that the “death was from natural causes,” the PGA Tour Series China said on the website. But it added that the “coroner has not completed his report.”
“This is just a terrible tragedy that affects all of us who are part of a very tight-knit family here in China,” Greg Carlson, the tour’s executive director, told the website.. “Arie played with us in 2018, his first full year on our tour, and I know he was excited about this season as he continued his professional golf pursuits.
“We are incredibly saddened by this news, and we extend our sincere condolences to his wife and family.”
Irawan is survived by wife Marina, parents Ahmad and Jeny and sister Wan Edna.
Final round canceled
The final round of the tournament was canceled after Irawan’s death, with Trevor Sluman awarded the title after leading through three rounds.
“This is a tragic day in the tour’s history, and it would not have been right to play the final round,” said Carlson. “Through Saturday, we had experienced a great tournament. 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.”
Irawan turned pro in 2013 after playing four years at the University of Tulsa and earning a degree in management information systems, said the website.
At one event, after missing the cut in Zhuhai, China last year, he caddied Techakanokboon at the tournament and helped the American collect his maiden tour title.
“The fact he would caddie for his friend like he did in Zhuhai typifies the kind of guy Arie was,” said Carlson. “His smile brightened whatever room he was in, and everybody liked being around him. This is a significant loss for so many of us and for our tour.”