SEVEN DAYS IN UTOPIA
K. J. CHOI (T.K. Oh) grew up the son of a rice farmer in
South Korea. His interest in various sports inspired him to join the
weightlifting team in his middle school. As a teenage powerlifter, weighing a
mere 95 pounds, he was able to squat up to 350 pounds. He didn't have the
upper-body strength to pursue professional weightlifting, and he decided to
switch to golf after one of his high school teachers recommended he try the
At 16, K.J. began studying Jack Nicklaus' books and videos and spent long
hours hitting practice balls on his island home's only practice range. He broke
par by his 21st birthday.
He fell in love with golf and wanted to be a part of the explosive growth the
sport is seeing in Asia. After establishing his career on the Asian and Japan
Tours, Choi qualified for membership on the PGA TOUR at the 1999 qualifying
school. He is a truly global player and has been the member of four
international professional golf tours.
Choi is bilingual and communicates well with the media and fans all over the
world. He has been touted as the Golf's Ambassador to Asia where he brings
increased media coverage and interest to golf on the continent.
Choi became the first Korean-born player to earn a PGA TOUR card and the
first Korean-born player to win on the PGA TOUR. He later became the first Asian
born player to break into the Top-10 in
the Official World Golf Rankings. He has five top-ten finishes in Major
Championships and has also played on two International President's Cup teams.
He is a powerful driver of the ball and is known for his steady iron play and
his focus, drive and determination. Choi earned his nickname "Tankâ from his
strong and consistent style of play.
As a proud family man and father of three children, Choi has a charitable
heart and is driven to share the many gifts golf has given him. After a 2005
victory, he donated $90,000 to the Korean Presbyterian Church he has attended in
Greensboro, NC, each year he plays the tournament. After his 7th PGA Tour
victory at the 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii, he donated $320,000 of his earnings to
the families of victims of a warehouse fire in Seoul, South Korea. In 2011, Choi
donated $100,000 to the tsunami victims in Japan and $200,000 to the victims of
tornado in Alabama. He founded the K.J. Choi Foundation in 2008 to help the
unfortunate children and the community for a brighter future and a better world.
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