KJ eyes major prize
KJ Choi says the fire is still burning strong in his belly as he seeks an elusive first Major title.
K.J. Choi says the fire is still burning strong in his belly as he seeks an elusive first Major title.
The Korean golf star, who will host his own Asian Tour tournament – the US$750,000 CJ Invitational – at the Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club next week, was pipped by countryman Y.E. Yang in the race to become Asia’s first male Major champion.
The 41-year-old Choi said: “The fire is strong, and it will always be. However, even if I don’t win a Major, I’m still very grateful for what I’ve achieved. Honestly, it’s so much more than what I had imagined. God has plans for me, and I am here to follow them and glorify His name.”
A four-time winner on the Asian Tour and with eight wins, including this year’s Players Championship, on the PGA Tour, Choi was the Asian Tour’s first graduate to hit big time in the United States.
He believes he will have opportunities to break his Major drought following changes made to his golf swing this season.
“My golf swing is still in progress. I know how I need to swing, but it takes a long time for me to get used to it to the point where I can execute such swing in every shot. I feel more confident about my swing on the range, but I need to take that approach during my competitive rounds and execute it,” said Choi, who finished third and fourth at the US Masters in 2004 and 2010 respectively.
“Golf is a never ending search for perfection. There are so many areas for me to improve. We spend all our life trying to become better. I’m at the stage where I know what my strengths and weaknesses are. I play accordingly and try not to get too greedy. I think I still have a few good years left in me.”
He conceded that his victory at the Players Championship, long regarded as the unofficial fifth Major of the world, came as a surprise as he had never fared well in the event.
“I have been blessed with so many good things this year. I honestly didn’t think that the Players Championship win would come so soon, but putting the win aside, I am happier because I was able to gain my confidence back and I know what I need to improve on to get to the next level.
“Winning the Players Championship was like a dream. Looking back, I still can’t believe I won it. I really didn’t expect to win it so soon as I’ve never played well on that course throughout the years. That week, I felt calm within myself and I think it’s because I didn’t even think about the win. I just took it day by day, hole by hole, shot by shot. The win was very special and something I’m very proud of,” he said.
Apart from the CJ Invitational, which is one of four new events to feature on the Asian Tour this season, Choi said he would continue to be involved with the game at various levels through his Foundation.
“I will be involved in one way or other. Most likely, I will be busy with my Foundation. I have plans to build my own academy to nurture aspiring young junior golfers. I also plan to design golf courses and conduct hold corporate clinics and engage in motivational speeches.”
CJ Group, Korea’s food-to-entertainment conglomerate, has a three-year agreement to title sponsor the tournament which will be beamed live on the Asian Tour’s global television platform which reaches over 200 countries and 850 million homes. It will also be broadcast on KBS and J-Golf channel.
The tournament will feature 55 players each from the Asian Tour and Korean Golf Tour plus 10 sponsor’s invitations, making it a 120-man field.
The K.J. Choi Foundation and CJ Donors Camp will conduct various initiatives to support the local communities as Choi is a keen supporter of worthy charity programmes both in Korea and around the world.
The Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club, a par-72, 7,229-yard championship course, is rated as one of the finest in Korea. Its ambition is to become the “Best Private Members Club in the World.”
A nice birdie-fest – Tiger Woods expecting low scoring Hero World Challenge
Woods withdrew on Monday due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot.
Adam Scott relishing chance to experience a career first at the Australian Open
The tournament sees men, women and golfers with disabilities competing on the same course at the same time.
Tiger Woods backs up Rory McIlroy and says LIV Golf boss Greg Norman ‘has to go’
Woods called McIlroy a ‘true leader’ as he spoke out about the Saudi-funded breakaway.
Tiger Woods withdraws from Hero World Challenge due to foot problem
The former world number one has not played since the Open Championship in July.
Tiger Woods to partner son Charlie in next month’s PNC Championship
Woods has not played since the Open Championship in July.
I want to fulfil my dreams – Adam Scott in no mood to lower expectations
Scott is seeking a third Australian PGA Championship title this week in his native Queensland.
Nicolas Colsaerts named a vice-captain for Europe’s Ryder Cup team
The Belgian joins Thomas Bjorn and Edoardo Molinari on Luke Donald’s staff.
Ireland’s Ancient East: Golf attractions alongside stunning beauty of Kildare
Ireland has a rich mix of tourist attractions across its varied and beautiful terrain.
Rory McIlroy crowned top golfer in Europe despite Jon Rahm claiming Dubai title
The Spaniard’s two-shot victory over England’s Tyrrell Hatton and Sweden’s Alex Noren was his third in six years at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Leona Maguire shoots day’s best to tie Lydia Ko in chasing LPGA’s largest prize
Maguire is chasing her second title while Ko is close to claiming her second straight LPGA Tour player of the year.