Sentosa, May 21: Asian Tour honorary member K.J. Choi believes the staging of the Presidents Cup for the first time in Asia later this year will be a huge boost for the development of the game across the region.
Choi, who is Vice Captain of the International Team, said he was looking forward to the event which pits the United States against an International Team in his home country at the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Seoul from October 8-11.
“This will bring big changes to golf not just in Korea, but all around Asia,” said Choi, who is the first Asian Tour graduate to find success on the PGA Tour.
“The Korean golf community will embrace the tournament and hopefully more young kids will start dreaming about playing golf and reaching the top. Also, other countries in Asia will attempt to host the Presidents Cup in the future, which will lead to the elevation of the game in the region.”
The U.S. has won eight of the 10 Presidents Cup since the biennial tournament was launched in 1994 but Choi is hopeful that the International Team will be able to turn the tables on the Americans this year.
Currently, Asian Tour stars – India’s Anirban Lahiri and Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand – are in the top-10 of the International Team listings. The qualifying cut-off is in September while Captain Nick Price will have two wild card picks.
Choi started his career in Asia where he has six Asian Tour victories. He has eight titles on the PGA Tour, including the 2011 Players Championship.
A rice farmer’s son, Choi grew up on Wando island on the coast of Korea and didn’t pick up a golf club until he was 15. He initially trained as a powerlifter but switched his attention to golf upon the suggestion from his athletics team coach.
He coined the phrase “To be the best, you’ve got to play with the best”, hence his determination to play his way onto the PGA Tour which he succeeded at the end of 1999.