09 October 2017
Carrying a Noble Mission for SEA Players
The Southeast Asian Amateur Golf Team Championship was created to improve golf in Southeast Asia. Many Southeast Asian top players joined the event and honed their skills in the competition.
In 1960, the late Honourable Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al-Haj, Malaysian Prime Minister at that time, had the idea of increasing the level of the game and bringing golfers of Commonwealth nations in Southeast Asia together to foster friendship amongst them. The Southeast Asian Amateur Golf Team Championship was born.
The idea, which was expressed to several countries including Indonesia, Thailand, Burma (now Myanmar), Philippines, Singapore, and Hong Kong (then its own country). Seven of the Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, agreed to participate in the golf tournament. Tunku Abdul Rahman donated the Putra Cup, a rose gold trophy, specially ordered from London at the then princely sum of $10,000. The inaugural tournament was played in 1961 at the Royal Selangor Golf Club, Malaysia, and Hong Kong was the first country to become the champion of the Putra Cup.
Malaysia went on to host a further three championships, then in 1965, it was agreed that each participating country would take turns to host the event. In the late 1970s, Papua New Guinea joined in the Putra Cup, and Brunei began participating in the 1980s. Meanwhile, Hong Kong, although no longer recognized as a country after it joined China in the 1990s, has remained as a participant in the Putra Cup due to its history with the event.
Over the years, the championship evolved from just a single men’s event to the current four events. The Lion City Cup, donated by Singapore, was included in 2004 for male junior golfers. The Santi Cup, donated by Thailand, was introduced in 2009 for ladies. Finally, the Kartini Cup, donated by Indonesia in 2013 for junior female golfers, completed the full spectrum of events for both genders of junior and adult golfers.
Throughout the Putra Cup from 1961, Indonesia has brought Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra Al Haj's trophy home five times: 1977, 1978, 1988, 1992, and 1994. Of the five successes, Indonesia won two titles - individual and team - three times. All three were the contribution of Indonesia’s best golfer of all time, the late Sukamdi, who claimed four individual titles: 1988, 1992, 1994, and 1995. (Once even defeating Thailand’s famed Thongchai Jaidee, who won individual title at Putra Cup in 1997, to claim victory.)