While most three-year olds were still learning how to work pull-on pants, slip-on shoes, and how to feed themselves with a fork and spoon, Daeng Abdul Rahman was diligently following his dad to his golf practices. After he hit his first ball when he was only four, he fell helplessly in love with the sport.
Daeng started playing golf more seriously when he was six, and now, ten years later and he’s gradually carving a name for himself in the international arena. He has already participated in various major golf tournaments, and he will be competing in the Maybank Golf Championship for the second time.
We recently caught up with the sixteen-year old lad from Johor Bahru, and he tells us about how he got sucked into the world of golf, his experience playing aside world-class golfers, and what changes he wishes to see in the local golfing scene.
FO: Daeng, how old were you when you first started playing golf? How did you get sucked into the world of golf?
D: When I was three years old, my dad started playing golf. I would follow him on a weekly basis to watch him practice. From there, my interest in golf sparked. When I turned six, I started playing more often and got more serious about the sport.
FO: You’re only sixteen and you’ll be playing aside world-class golfers at the Maybank Championship. How does that make you feel?
D: I am extremely happy to be chosen to play in this prestigious event. This is a great opportunity for me as a golfer as it provides me with the opportunity to play alongside all these big names. I’m ecstatic to be placed alongside all these great players such as reigning Masters Champion Danny Willett.
FO: How do you think you will do in the tournament? What will be your focus?
D: I think I will do just fine because this is my second time playing at Maybank Championship. I did my best to make the cut and am currently thinking about my game plan. No matter the outcome, I’m excited to play alongside all the players I look up to.
FO: Ben Leong, an accomplished Malaysian golfer, will also be at the tournament. Have you played against him before?
D: No I have not but would love to. He’s been on fire, winning the last five PGM (Professional Golf of Malaysia) events! The golfers that will be playing at Maybank Championship are such great golfers that they would all be a competitors and this would be a valuable learning experience for me. I will be able to test out my skills against the world famous golfers and hopefully learn from them to improve my game.
FO: Let’s talk about your training. How did you fund your training and get sponsors? Was there much support from the government?
D: At the moment, I feel like there isn’t much support for amateur golfers from government bodies. However, there is a good amount of recognition and support through various NGOs and of course corporate organisations like Maybank, especially via tournaments like the Maybank Championship. In terms of funding, I depend solely on my parents.
FO: How is golf picking up in Malaysia? Or, more importantly, is Malaysia a good place for golf?
D: I would say it is gaining momentum in terms of popularity. Over the years, Malaysia has become a golf haven with over 200 golf courses and there are some stunning ones, like the Saujana Golf and Country Club which is the venue for the upcoming Maybank Championship this year.
FO: As a budding Malaysian golfer, what are the changes you wish to see in the golf scene in Malaysia?
D: I’d love to see more golfers from the younger generation playing well in tournaments and gaining recognition at an international level. Tournaments like Maybank Championship 2017 give great emphasis on growing young talent, which I feel is crucial in encouraging young golfers out there to pursue their dreams. I’m looking forward to more tournaments like Maybank Championship and would love to see more tournaments like this in the future.
FO: What do you wish to say to budding golfers?
D: Always work hard. Give a 100% commitment when you’re practicing. Be patient and your time will come. Keep chasing your dreams.
Catch Daeng Abdul Rahman and other golf stars in action at the 2017 Maybank Championship, at the Saujana Golf & Country Club, happening from February 9 to 12.