K. J. Choi

Last updated

K. J. Choi
K.J. Choi.jpg
Choi in June 2011
Personal information
Full nameChoi Kyung-Ju
NicknameTank, Hawkeye [1]
Born (1970-05-19) 19 May 1970 (age 51)
Wando, South Korea
Height5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight185 lb (84 kg)
NationalityFlag of South Korea.svg  South Korea
Residence Dallas, Texas, U.S.
SpouseHyunjung Kim [1]
ChildrenDavid, Amanda, Daniel [1]
Career
College Gwangju University
Turned professional1994
Current tour(s) PGA Tour (joined 2000)
PGA Tour Champions
Former tour(s) Asian Tour
Japan Golf Tour
Professional wins29
Highest ranking 5 (9 March 2008) [2]
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour8
European Tour1
Japan Golf Tour2
Asian Tour6
Other12
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament 3rd: 2004
PGA Championship T6: 2004
U.S. Open T15: 2005, 2012
The Open Championship T8: 2007
Achievements and awards
Korean Tour Order of Merit winner 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003
Asia Golf Circuit champion 1999 [3]

Choi Kyung-Ju (Korean : 최경주; born 19 May 1970), commonly known as K. J. Choi, is a South Korean professional golfer who currently plays on the PGA Tour. Since turning pro in 1994, he has won more than twenty professional golf tournaments worldwide, including eight on the PGA Tour, making him Asia's most successful male golfer. His most notable victory came at the 2011 Players Championship, and he has spent 40 weeks in the top-10 of the world rankings. [4] [5]

Contents

Professional career

Choi turned professional in 1994 after fulfilling his military obligation. [6]

After establishing his career on the Korean Tour, where he picked up his first professional win in 1995, and the Japan Golf Tour, where he won twice in 1999, Choi qualified for membership of the U.S.-based PGA Tour by finishing tied 35th at the 1999 qualifying tournament. He was the first Korean to earn a PGA Tour card. In his rookie season in 2000 he finished 134th on the money list and had to requalify, but since 2001 he has been a consistent performer on the tour. In 2002 he became the first Korean to win on the PGA Tour at the Compaq Classic of New Orleans, and followed it up with another victory at the Tampa Bay Classic later that year.

In 2003 he won the Linde German Masters on the European Tour, his first and only win to date on the European Tour. [7]

Choi won Jack Nicklaus's Memorial Tournament in 2007. He mentioned on CBS during the AT&T National that he read Jack Nicklaus's "Golf My Way" book early in his golf career, which assisted him in becoming the golfer he is today.

Choi won the first AT&T National hosted by Tiger Woods at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland. The trophy is a small replica of the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, DC. He made a spectacular sand trap shot on the 17th hole for a birdie to clinch the win over Steve Stricker by 3 shots. Choi was a crowd favorite and threw his golf ball into the crowd after holing his sand shot on the 17th hole.

In August 2007 he reached the top 10 of the world rankings for the first time. In January 2008, Choi won the Sony Open in Hawaii and rose to world number 7. [8] In March 2008, Choi reached fifth place in the rankings.

After his 7th PGA Tour victory at the 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii, Choi donated $320,000 of his earnings to the victims' families of a warehouse fire in Seoul, South Korea, which killed over forty people.

Choi won his fourth title on the Asian Tour in Malaysia in 2009 at the Iskandar Johor Open, which was reduced to 3 rounds due to inclement weather.

In May 2011, Choi won The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in a playoff against David Toms. Choi had a one shot lead going down the 18th hole in regulation time, but Toms made birdie while Choi could only chip and putt for a par taking it to a sudden-death playoff. Both players found the green at the first extra hole, the 17th, and then missed with their attempted birdie efforts. Toms however also missed the return four footer for par leaving Choi with a three-foot par putt to seal victory. This to date is the South Korean's biggest PGA Tour victory. [9] Following his win, Choi donated $200,000 to help victims of the tornadoes that ravaged the southeastern United States in April. [10]

In February 2016, Choi finished runner-up at the Farmers Insurance Open to Brandt Snedeker, during a Monday finish to the weather disrupted event. This was notable because it was the first time in Choi's PGA Tour career that he did not convert a 54-hole lead or co-lead into a win. He was previously 5 for 5 in converted 54 holes leads to victories. The result moved Choi up 197 places in the world rankings from 334th to 137th. Choi continued his good early season from at the Northern Trust Open where he finished in a tie for fifth, despite holding the co-lead during the final round. This moved Choi to just outside the top 100 at 102nd in the rankings.

Team golf career

Choi represented South Korea in the WGC-World Cup in 2002, 2003, and 2005, and was a member of the International Team in the Presidents Cup in 2003, 2007, and 2011.

Personal life

Choi was born in Wando, South Korea. He currently resides in Southlake, Texas, near fellow South Korean PGA Tour player Yang Yong-eun. [11] He is a devout Christian [1] and member of the Korean United Methodist Church. [12] He has donated much of his money to charity through the K.J. Choi Foundation. [12]

Before picking up golf Choi was a competitive power lifter, being able to squat 350 pounds (159 kg) as a 95-pound (43 kg) 13-year-old, thus aptly nicknamed "Tank" by South Koreans.

Choi played the role of professional golfer T.K. Oh in the movie Seven Days in Utopia .

Professional wins (29)

PGA Tour wins (8)

Legend
Players Championships (1)
Other PGA Tour (7)
No.DateTournamentWinning scoreTo parMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
15 May 2002 Compaq Classic of New Orleans 68-65-71-67=271−174 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Dudley Hart, Flag of Australia (converted).svg Geoff Ogilvy
222 Sep 2002 Tampa Bay Classic 63-68-68-68=267−177 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Glen Day
32 Oct 2005 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro 64-69-67-66=266−222 strokes Flag of Japan.svg Shigeki Maruyama
429 Oct 2006 Chrysler Championship (2)68-66-70-67=271−134 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Paul Goydos, Flag of the United States.svg Brett Wetterich
53 Jun 2007 Memorial Tournament 69-70-67-65=271−171 stroke Flag of the United States.svg Ryan Moore
68 Jul 2007 AT&T National 66-67-70-68=271−93 strokes Flag of the United States.svg Steve Stricker
713 Jan 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii 64-65-66-71=266−143 strokes Flag of South Africa.svg Rory Sabbatini
815 May 2011 The Players Championship 70-68-67-70=275−13Playoff Flag of the United States.svg David Toms

PGA Tour playoff record (1–0)

No.YearTournamentOpponentResult
1 2011 The Players Championship Flag of the United States.svg David Toms Won with par on first extra hole

European Tour wins (1)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreTo parMargin of
victory
Runner-up
121 Sep 2003 Linde German Masters 63-68-64-67=262−262 strokes Flag of Spain.svg Miguel Ángel Jiménez

Japan Golf Tour wins (2)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreTo parMargin of
victory
Runner-up
125 Apr 1999 Kirin Open 165-68-71=204*−9Playoff Flag of India.svg Jeev Milkha Singh
223 May 1999 Ube Kosan Open 69-65-66-72=272−163 strokes Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Kazuhiko Hosokawa

*Note: The 1999 Kirin Open was shortened to 54 holes due to rain.
1Co-sanctioned by the Asia Golf Circuit

Japan Golf Tour playoff record (1–0)

No.YearTournamentOpponentResult
1 1999 Kirin Open Flag of India.svg Jeev Milkha Singh Won with par on first extra hole

Asian Tour wins (6)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreTo parMargin of
victory
Runner(s)-up
119 Sep 1999 Kolon Korean Open 171-71-67-69=278−101 stroke Flag of Myanmar (1974-2010).svg Kyi Hla Han
228 Jun 2003 SK Telecom Open 164-69-68=201*−15Playoff Flag of South Korea.svg Shin Yong-jin
38 May 2005 SK Telecom Open 1(2)67-71-68-69=275−135 strokes Flag of Australia (converted).svg Andrew Buckle, Flag of the United States.svg Fred Couples
425 Oct 2009 Iskandar Johor Open 68-64-64=196*−204 strokes Flag of Thailand.svg Chapchai Nirat
523 Oct 2011 CJ Invitational 167-70-67-67=271−172 strokes Flag of South Korea.svg Noh Seung-yul
67 Oct 2012 CJ Invitational 1(2)69-65-68-67=269−152 strokes Flag of South Korea.svg Bae Sang-moon, Flag of South Korea.svg Jang Dong-kyu

*Note: Tournament shortened to 54 holes due to weather.
1Co-sanctioned by the Korean Tour

Asian Tour playoff record (1–0)

No.YearTournamentOpponentResult
1 2003 SK Telecom Open Flag of South Korea.svg Shin Yong-jin Won with birdie on second extra hole

Korean Tour wins (16)

Other wins (1)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreTo parMargin of
victory
Runner-up
130 Nov 2008 LG Skins Game $415,000$165,000 Flag of Canada (Pantone).svg Stephen Ames

Results in major championships

K.J. hits a drive during a 2005 PGA Championship practice round at Baltusrol Golf Club. Kj-swing.jpg
K.J. hits a drive during a 2005 PGA Championship practice round at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Tournament19981999
Masters Tournament
U.S. Open
The Open Championship CUTT49
PGA Championship
Tournament2000200120022003200420052006200720082009
Masters Tournament T153T33CUTT2741CUT
U.S. Open CUTT30CUTT31T15CUTCUTCUTT47
The Open Championship CUTT22T16T41CUTT8T16CUT
PGA Championship T29CUTT69T6T40T7T12CUTT24
Tournament2010201120122013201420152016
Masters Tournament T4T8CUTT46T34
U.S. Open T47CUTT15T32
The Open Championship CUTT44T39T44CUT
PGA Championship T39T39T54T47CUTT22
  Top 10
  Did not play

CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied

Summary

TournamentWins2nd3rdTop-5Top-10Top-25EventsCuts made
Masters Tournament 001234129
U.S. Open 000002137
The Open Championship 000014159
PGA Championship 0000251512
Totals00126155537

The Players Championship

Wins (1)

YearChampionship54 holesWinning scoreMarginRunner-up
2011 The Players Championship 1 shot deficit−13 (70-68-67-70=275)Playoff Flag of the United States.svg David Toms

Results timeline

Tournament2002200320042005200620072008200920102011201220132014201520162017
The Players Championship T28CUTT42CUTT16T23CUTT71T341CUTT48T13T42T43CUT
  Win

CUT = missed the halfway cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place.

Results in World Golf Championships

Tournament200220032004200520062007200820092010201120122013
Match Play R32R64R64R64R32QFR64R32R64R64
Championship T6T57T43T32T19T12T59T39T35
Invitational T19T53T58T51T22T11T16T45T46T59T8
Champions T30T16
  Top 10
  Did not play

QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = Tied
Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.

Results in senior major championships

Tournament2021
The Tradition
Senior PGA Championship T3
U.S. Senior Open
Senior Players Championship
The Senior Open Championship
  Top 10
  Did not play

"T" indicates a tie for a place

Team appearances

Professional

See also

Related Research Articles

Vijay Singh Fijian-Indian professional golfer

Vijay Singh, nicknamed "The Big Fijian", is a Fijian professional golfer. He has won 34 events on the PGA Tour, including three major championships: one Masters title (2000) and two PGA Championships. He was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.

Sergio García Spanish professional golfer

Sergio García Fernández is a Spanish professional golfer who plays on both the PGA Tour and the European Tour. García has won 36 international tournaments as a professional, most notably the 2008 Players Championship and the 2017 Masters Tournament. García was also the Chairman of Spanish football team CF Borriol.

Adam Scott (golfer) Australian golfer

Adam Derek Scott is an Australian professional golfer who plays mainly on the PGA Tour. He was the World No. 1 ranked golfer, from mid-May to August 2014. He has won 31 professional tournaments around the world, on many of golf's major tours.

David Toms American professional golfer

David Wayne Toms is an American professional golfer, who currently plays on the PGA Champions Tour. From 1992 to 2017, Toms was a member of the PGA Tour, where he won 13 events, including one major, the 2001 PGA Championship. He was in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking for 175 weeks between 2001 and 2006, and ranked as high as fifth in 2002 and 2003.

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Spanish professional golfer

Miguel Ángel Jiménez Rodríguez is a Spanish professional golfer. He has won 21 times on the European Tour and has been a member of two victorious Ryder Cup teams.

Charl Schwartzel South African professional golfer (born 1984)

Charl Adriaan Schwartzel is a South African professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour, European Tour, and the Sunshine Tour. He has won one major title, the Masters in 2011. Schwartzel's highest world ranking has been number six, after finishing in a tie for fourth at the WGC-Cadillac Championship in 2012.

Thongchai Jaidee Thai professional golfer

Thongchai Jaidee is a Thai professional golfer who plays on the Asian Tour and the European Tour. On the Asian Tour, he holds the record for the most career earnings and is second in victories having won 13 times. He has won the Order of Merit on the Asian Tour three times during his career. Jaidee was the first man to win US$2 million, US$3 million, US$4 million, and US$5 million on the Asian Tour in prize money.

Brett Rumford Australian professional golfer

Brett Michael Rumford is an Australian professional golfer who plays on the European Tour, having formerly been a member on both the PGA Tour and PGA Tour of Australasia.

Yang Yong-eun, also called Y. E. Yang, is a South Korean professional golfer currently playing on the PGA Tour, where he has won twice, including most notably the 2009 PGA Championship where he came from behind to defeat Tiger Woods.

Louis Oosthuizen South African professional golfer (born 1982)

Lodewicus Theodorus "Louis" Oosthuizen is a South African professional golfer who won the 2010 Open Championship. He also holds the distinction of having finished runner-up in all four major championships: the 2012 Masters Tournament, the 2015 U.S. Open, the 2015 Open Championship, and the PGA Championship in 2017 and 2021. He is one of nine golfers to accomplish this feat, joining Craig Wood, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Tom Watson, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, Phil Mickelson, and Dustin Johnson. His highest placing on the Official World Golf Ranking is fourth, which he reached in January 2013.

Nicholas Alan Watney is an American professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour. The highlight of Watney's career is his victory at the 2011 WGC-Cadillac Championship. In July 2011, Watney won the AT&T National and broke into the top ten of the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time.

Bae Sang-moon, or Sang-moon Bae, is a South Korean professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour.

Marcus Fraser (golfer) Australian professional golfer

Marcus Fraser is an Australian professional golfer who plays on the European Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia and Asian Tour.

George Coetzee South African professional golfer

George William Coetzee is a South African professional golfer. He has won five tournaments on the European Tour and eleven on the Sunshine Tour, where he has also topped the Order of Merit on two occasions.

Hideki Matsuyama Japanese professional golfer

Hideki Matsuyama is a Japanese professional golfer who plays on the PGA Tour. He is the first-ever Japanese professional golfer to win a men's major golf championship – the 2021 Masters Tournament.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat Thai professional golfer

Kiradech Aphibarnrat is a Thai professional golfer who plays on the Asian, European, and PGA Tours.

Anirban Lahiri Indian professional golfer

Anirban Lahiri is an Indian professional golfer who currently plays on the Asian Tour and PGA Tour.

Dylan Frittelli South African professional golfer (born 1990)

Dylan Ashley Frittelli is a South African professional golfer. He currently plays on the PGA Tour where he won the John Deere Classic in 2019. He previously played on the European Tour where he won twice in 2017, the Lyoness Open and the AfrAsia Bank Mauritius Open.

Wang Jeung-hun or Wang Jung-hoon is a South Korean professional golfer. He plays on the European and Asian Tours. He is from Seoul, South Korea.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 "The Ultimate K.J. Choi Fan Site". 25 May 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  2. "Week 10 2008 Ending 9 Mar 2008" (pdf). OWGR . Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  3. McCormack, Mark H. (2000). The World of Professional Golf 2000. IMG Publishing. p. 197. ISBN   1878843281.
  4. "69 Players Who Have Reached The Top-10 In World Ranking" (PDF). Official World Golf Ranking. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  5. "Players who have reached the Top Ten in the Official World Golf Ranking since 1986". European Tour Official Guide 09 (38th ed.). PGA European Tour. 2009. p. 558.
  6. Choi gets company on PGA Tour as Korea emerges as world golf power
  7. Kim, Sang hun (22 September 2003). 최경주, "유럽대회 자주 출전하겠다". Yeonhap News (in Korean). Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  8. "K.J. Choi Wins Wire-to-Wire at the Sony Open in Hawaii and Climbs to World Number 7". Official World Golf Ranking. 14 January 2008. Archived from the original on 8 November 2013. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  9. "KJ Choi lands Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass". BBC Sport. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  10. "K.J. Choi to give $200,000 to relief effort". ESPN. Associated Press. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  11. Nichols, Bill (8 April 2010). "Since historic win, Korean golfer finds balance with family in Southlake, at Dallas driving range". Dallas Morning News. Retrieved 11 April 2010.
  12. 1 2 "K.J. Choi is a golf god who gives back – CNN Belief Blog". CNN.