Asian golf lost a true friend and a pioneering spirit with the sad passing of the indefatigable Chris Jordan on Wednesday after a two year battle with cancer.
CJ, as he was known to colleagues, friends, players and officials, was involved in the Asian golf industry for close on two decades first as a sponsor and latterly as Senior Vice President, Golf, World Sport Group.
A tireless worker, brilliant organiser, astute negotiator and all-round good guy - charming and gregarious in equal measure - Chris stamped his mark on the sport in Asia.
His first involvement with professional golf in the region was as a sponsor’s representative at the London Myanmar Open, a feature on the former Asian PGA Tour in the late 1990s.
His attention to detail and determination to ensure the sponsor received value for money stood out, as did his easy manner and willingness to learn about the roles of the media, events and scoring teams in staging a successful golf event, and it was no surprise when he was appointed by Davidoff Cafe in 1999 to oversee their title sponsorship of the Asian PGA Tour.
It was a golden period in the development of Asian golf with tournaments multiplying, prize money increasing and standards of play improving, and CJ’s steady hand on the tiller was central to the Tour’s progress.
When Davidoff Cafe decided that they had met their objective in promoting the brand throughout the region, CJ worked for a spell with the Asian PGA Tour Golf Academy in Palm Resort Golf and Country Club, Johor Bahru, before joining World Sport Group in Singapore to head up their golf operations.
CJ had a keen eye for an opportunity and he was instrumental in revitalising three of the region’s leading tournaments - the Singapore Open, Thailand Open, and the Indian Open.
The Singapore Open was very much his “baby” and, like a proud father, he watched the tournament grow and prosper from its rebirth in 2005.
With the backing of Barclays, the Singapore Open re-established itself as the flagship event on the Asian Tour with prize money of US$6 million and a roll call of winners from the top echelon of the game led by three-time champion Adam Scott.
He was disheartened by the decision of Barclays to end their sponsorship after last year’s tournament but, typical of the man, he refused to let spirits flag at an impromptu get together of past and present colleagues in the Barclays Pavilion at Sentosa Golf Club long after Matteo Manassero had holed the winning putt.
Given CJ’s ailing health, tears flowed as easily as beers with the conversation naturally turning to the huge impact he had on the game in Asia and the many friends he had made on the way, be they players, caddies, officials, scorers or sponsors.
The toast that night was to “CJ” and many a glass will be raised in the coming days, months and years to one of the greatest characters and dedicated individuals in Asian golf.
Note: The cremation of Mr. Christopher Jordan will be on Friday April 5 at 8.45PM at Mandai Hall 4, Mandai Crematorium, 300 Mandai Road, Singapore 779393. Everyone is requested to meet at 8.15PM.