Golf Mourns Passing of Kyi Hla Han

Kyi Hla Han has passed away at the age of 61. Picture by Asian Tour.

Singapore: The Asian Tour has announced the passing of Kyi Hla Han – former Tour number one and Executive Chairman, and one of the most iconic figures in Asian golf.

Kyi Hla passed away on Saturday afternoon in Singapore due to complications with cancer treatment. He was 61 years old. He is survived by his wife, Marlene, and daughters Natasha and Kaitlyn.

“There are few words to express the loss that everyone at the Asian Tour is feeling at the moment,” said Cho Minn Thant, Commissioner & CEO of the Asian Tour.

“First and foremost, our heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to his family at this very difficult time. We are all only just processing the news as we recently saw him at the SMBC Singapore Open in January. Asian golf has lost one of its greatest players, its greatest personalities, and its greatest leaders. We will forever remember Kyi Hla.”

Kyi Hla turned professional in 1980 and enjoyed a 25-year playing career that saw him win on 12 occasions, most notably in the 1994 Singapore Open and the Volvo China Open in 1999, the year he claimed the Merit list title. He also represented Myanmar in five World Cups.

He would become equally as well known for his executive role in shaping the Tour after retiring from competitive golf in 2004 and assuming the role as Executive Chairman in 2006. He was the first Asian to hold this position and by drawing on two-and-a-half decades of experience he successfully led the Tour for over 10 years.

Added Cho: “On a personal note, Kyi Hla was a mentor to many of us within the management of the Asian Tour and was a massive influence in many of our lives and careers. He always put the Asian Tour and its members first and was ultra-passionate about seeing Asian golf rise up on to the world stage. We will strive to continue his legacy and make him proud of the Asian Tour that he devoted his life to.”

A true flag-bearer for Asian golf, outside of golf he was laidback, funny and very popular. Charismatic beyond words, he always had time for anyone who needed advice, and everyone was welcome in his home. He loved his family, music and the great outdoors.

“Early reaction to the news from around the world has been overwhelming,” said Asian Tour Board member Dominique Boulet, a close friend of Kyi Hla’s.

“It is a true indication of the tremendous impression he left on everyone he met. Small in stature but with a big game and a bigger heart, he was the best, most loyal, supportive and generous friend a man could ever ask for! His eternal optimism and laughter is a loss to us all,” said Boulet.

Speaking to the Asian Tour last year on the eve of his 60th birthday, Kyi Hla said: “I had wanted to be a pro golfer since I was 10 years old. I’ve been very fortunate to pursue a sport that I loved. Traveling all over the world, meeting new people, making so many friends, and playing a lot of great tournaments and golf courses.”

The Tour will be creating a Kyi Hla Han Future Champion Award in his honour to aid the development of juniors and the sport of golf in Asia.

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