Dai Rees (1913 - 1983 )
Born Fontygary, Wales, Rees is fondly remembered as one of Wales' great golfers and a Ryder Cup hero.
Dai Rees was fortunate to grow up totally immersed in golf. His father was club professional and his mother club steward at The Leys GC. His earliest recollection of golf stems from the age of 5. Rees happened to be watching the club champion practising his putting, when he was invited to attempt a putt. Amazingly he managed to succeed. Some time afterwards he managed to bogey the first hole he ever played. Certainly there was a talent to nurture.
When he was old enough he entered his first amateur tournament. However, the authorities denied his application because of his father's professional status which in their minds extended to the young Rees. He was therefore obliged to turn professional straight away, a move which he never regretted.
Rees' career spanned from the 1930s to the 1960s. Like many other men of small statue, he developed a physical and mental toughness to compensate. He won 4 British PGA Championships and was runner up in 3 Opens. He was "the best golfer never to have won the Open".
However his moment of glory came in 1957 when he captained the Ryder Cup team which brought the title back to Europe after 22 years. He became a national celebrity and was awarded a C.B.E and was voted Sportsman of the Year. In all, Rees played in 9 Ryder Cups.
Rees played golf all his life and was made an honorary member of the R&A in 1976. A keen supporter of Arsenal FC, he crashed his car on the way back from a match. He never fully recovered from the trauma and died a few months later.
Dai Rees was certainly special and Wales can be proud of him.