Golf: Ross Tan is Singapore golf's new leader

Tan says the association is not a one-man show and he will require a team effort if he is to achieve the things set out in his manifesto.
Tan says the association is not a one-man show and he will require a team effort if he is to achieve the things set out in his manifesto.ST PHOTO: MARCUS TAN

Ross Tan takes over as president after Low's pull-out, will name full team soon

Ross Tan had spent all week preparing his presentation to the Singapore Golf Association (SGA)'s 13-member governing council, in an attempt to convince them of his suitability to be their leader.

But it proved to be largely unnecessary at yesterday's annual general meeting as his sole challenger for the SGA presidency, Low Teo Ping, withdrew at the last minute, thus clearing the way for Tan to take over the helm.

It was the first time in its 55-year history that the SGA's top post had been contested by more than one candidate with Tan, captain at Jurong Country Club, facing Sentosa Golf Club president and veteran sports administrator Low.

While several members of the council had asked Low to reconsider his decision to pull out, Tan dismissed suggestions that it indicated a lack of faith in his abilities.

The 59-year-old businessman said: "I was quite confident of my chances before tonight and I felt my manifesto was genuine and from the heart. I believe if Teo Ping had continued, I would have done well against him."

He also vowed to carry out his plans to make golf more accessible to the public, particularly the young, and develop a pipeline for local talent.

CONFIDENT OF WINNING

I felt my manifesto was genuine and from the heart. I believe if Teo Ping had continued, I would have done well against him.

ROSS TAN, on challenging for the SGA presidency.

He replaces Bob Tan, 63, who served three two-year terms - the maximum allowed under SGA's constitution - and leaves an association with an annual revenue of $1.5 million and about $4 million in reserves, both totals significantly higher than when he took over in 2010.

Bob Tan was caught off guard by Low's decision but gave his backing to his successor. He said: "We had two outstanding candidates who are very passionate about golf. Ross is very well known in the golf fraternity and he clearly wants to do more for the game.

"I respect Teo Ping's decision and if he feels he has too much on his plate at the moment, then it's right of him to withdraw."

The 71-year-old Low was formerly the sailing chief and now heads the Singapore Rugby Union and the lesser-known Singapore Snowboarding and Skiing Association.

Prior to his presentation at the Singapore Island Country Club (Bukit), he had informed the council of his intention to drop out.

The retired banker, who is also Singapore's chef de mission for next month's Olympic Games in Rio and a Singapore National Olympic Council vice-president, cited his full plate of responsibilities for his decision.

He said: "I've thought about this for the last month (nominations closed on June 20). I'll be away for the next four months for the Olympics and rugby sevens and other things and with all these commitments, it would be hard to devote my full attention to the SGA as well."

Among Ross Tan's priorities will be to appoint his full team in the next fortnight. The post of vice-president (Kong Choong Soon) and honorary secretary (Yee Woon Yim) were filled but the honorary treasurer's post is vacant. Only four of the eight executive board members' slots are occupied (by Lee Lian Hong, Andrew Lim, Lyn Sen, Goh Kui Hwa).

Ross Tan said: "As I told the council, this is not a one-man show and requires a team effort. Some people think my vision is ambitious but I believe it's achievable if we work together.

"The feeling now is one of achievement and uncertainty. I've never done this before, taking charge of an NSA (national sports association) but I look forward to it."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2016, with the headline 'S'pore golf's new leader'. Print Edition | Subscribe