Back-in-S'pore Samson still keen on golf

Back-in-S'pore Samson still keen on golf
Samson Gimson
PHOTO: GODFREY ROBERT

He won an individual gold medal at the 1989 South-east Asia Games in Kuala Lumpur.

He was Singapore's No. 1 professional golfer in the early '90s, when current leader Mardan Mamat, 47, was still an amateur.

He won the Nikkei Cup, a renowned Japan Golf Tour event, in 1993 that bagged him a princely US$133,000 (then $212,000) cheque.

Things were looking up for the poor-boy-made-good 20 years ago that he decided to settle down in Japan and enhance his golf career.

But a strained family relationship, health problems because of diabetes and financial woes derailed his plans and Samson Gimson slipped into anonymity.

After 20 years, Samson, whom I have seen outdrive South African world-renowned long-hitter Wayne Westner in Dubai, is back in Singapore, hoping to bounce back into golf.

At a chance meeting at Mandai Crematorium yesterday, when Samson paid his last respects to former Football Association of Singapore chairman N Ganesan, who died on Wednesday, Samson said: "I'm waiting for my clubs to arrive from Japan, and now that I'm 51, I hope to play in the Seniors Tour."

The powerful six-footer (1.82m), who once packed a 100-kg bodyweight and averaged 270 metres off the tee, did not want to discuss details of his long stint in Japan.

"Another day," he replied, obviously not at a funeral where he came to pay tribute to Ganesan, who had helped him financially when he was a teenager.

"I used to help out at Queenstown FC, also earning some money washing the football laundry," said Samson.

"Mr Gani helped me, and always advised me to use my golfing talent to the fullest," he added.

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In fact, in his eulogy, Ganesan's nephew Dharmendra Nair, cited Samson as one of the top sportsmen - ex-footballers Chia Boon Leong, Terry Pathmanathan and David Lee aside - who attended the wake at Singapore Casket at Lavender Street.

Bespectacled, sporting a greying goatee and looking much slimmer - having lost about 15 kg from his playing days - Samson, who was popular with many in the crowd, did not want to dwell too much in the past.

"Big Sam", the god-given talent, who once shot a 12-under-60 off the white tees at the Sembawang "commando" course, preferred to look ahead, saying: "I'll be back in golf."

godfrey@sph.com.sg

 


This article was first published on July 05, 2015.
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