K. J. Choi

This is a Korean name; the family name is Choi.
K. J. Choi

Choi in June 2011
Personal information
Full name Choi Kyung-Ju
Nickname Tank, Hawkeye[1]
Born (1970-05-19) 19 May 1970
Wando, South Korea
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight 185 lb (84 kg)
Nationality  South Korea
Residence Dallas, Texas
Spouse Hyunjung Kim[1]
Children David, Amanda, Daniel[1]
College Gwangju University
Turned professional 1994
Current tour(s) PGA Tour
(joined 2000)
Former tour(s) Asian Tour
Japan Golf Tour
Professional wins 22
Number of wins by tour
PGA Tour 8
European Tour 1
Japan Golf Tour 2
Asian Tour 6
Other 5
Best results in major championships
Masters Tournament 3rd: 2004
U.S. Open T15: 2005, 2012
The Open Championship T8: 2007
PGA Championship T6: 2004
Korean name
Hangul 최경주
Hanja 崔京周
Revised Romanization Choe Gyeong-ju
McCune–Reischauer Ch'oe Kyŏng-ju

Choi Kyung-Ju (Korean: 최경주, pronounced [tɕʰwe ɡjʌŋdʑu]; 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 a total of twenty professional golf tournaments worldwide, including eight on the PGA Tour, making him Asia's most successful 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.[2][3]

Professional career

Choi turned professional in 1994 after fulfilling his military obligation.[4]

After establishing his career on the Asian Tour, where he picked up his first professional win at the 1996 Korean Open, 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7] Following his win, Choi donated $200,000 to help victims of the tornados that ravaged the southeastern United States in April.[8]

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.[9] He is a devout Christian[1] and member of the Korean United Methodist Church.[10] He has donated much of his money to charity through the K.J. Choi Foundation.[10]

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.

Professional wins (22)

PGA Tour wins (8)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreTo parMargin of
1 5 May 2002 Compaq Classic of New Orleans 68-65-71-67=271 −17 4 strokes United States Dudley Hart, Australia Geoff Ogilvy
2 22 Sep 2002 Tampa Bay Classic 63-68-68-68=267 −17 7 strokes United States Glen Day
3 2 Oct 2005 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro 64-69-67-66=266 −22 2 strokes Japan Shigeki Maruyama
4 29 Oct 2006 Chrysler Championship 68-66-70-67=271 −13 4 strokes United States Paul Goydos, United States Brett Wetterich
5 3 Jun 2007 Memorial Tournament 69-70-67-65=271 −17 1 stroke United States Ryan Moore
6 8 Jul 2007 AT&T National 66-67-70-68=271 −9 3 strokes United States Steve Stricker
7 13 Jan 2008 Sony Open in Hawaii 64-65-66-71=266 −14 3 strokes South Africa Rory Sabbatini
8 15 May 2011 The Players Championship 70-68-67-70=275 −13 Playoff United States David Toms

PGA Tour playoff record (1–0)

1 2011 The Players Championship United States David Toms Won with par on first extra hole

European Tour wins (1)

No.DateTournamentWinning scoreTo parMargin of
1 21 Sep 2003 Linde German Masters 63-68-64-67=262 −26 2 strokes Spain Miguel Ángel Jiménez

Asian Tour wins (6)

Japan Golf Tour wins (2)

Other wins (5)

Results in major championships

K.J. hits a drive during a 2005 PGA Championship practice round at Baltusrol Golf Club.
Tournament 1998 1999
Masters Tournament DNP DNP
The Open Championship CUT T49
PGA Championship DNP DNP
Tournament 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
Masters Tournament DNP DNP DNP T15 3 T33 CUT T27 41 CUT
The Open Championship DNP DNP CUT T22 T16 T41 CUT T8 T16 CUT
PGA Championship DNP T29 CUT T69 T6 T40 T7 T12 CUT T24
Tournament 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Masters Tournament T4 T8 CUT T46 T34 DNP DNP
U.S. Open T47 CUT T15 T32 DNP DNP DNP
The Open Championship CUT T44 T39 T44 CUT DNP DNP
PGA Championship T39 T39 T54 T47 CUT DNP T22

DNP = Did not play
CUT = missed the half-way cut
"T" = tied
Yellow background for top-10


Tournament Wins 2nd 3rd Top-5 Top-10 Top-25 Events Cuts made
Masters Tournament 0 0 1 2 3 4 12 9
U.S. Open 0 0 0 0 0 2 13 7
The Open Championship 0 0 0 0 1 4 15 9
PGA Championship 0 0 0 0 2 5 15 12
Totals 0 0 1 2 6 15 55 37

Results in World Golf Championship events

Accenture Match Play Championship DNP R32 R64 R64 R64 R32 QF
Cadillac Championship DNP T6 T57 T43 T32 T19 T12
Bridgestone Invitational T19 T53 T58 T51 T22 T11 T16
Accenture Match Play Championship R64 DNP R32 R64 R64
Cadillac Championship T59 DNP T39 T35 DNP
Bridgestone Invitational T45 T46 T59 T8 DNP
HSBC Champions DNP T30 T16 DNP DNP

DNP = Did not play
QF, R16, R32, R64 = Round in which player lost in match play
"T" = Tied
Yellow background for top-10.
Note that the HSBC Champions did not become a WGC event until 2009.

Team appearances


See also


  1. 1 2 3 4 "The Ultimate K.J. Choi Fan Site". 25 May 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2011.
  2. "69 Players Who Have Reached The Top-10 In World Ranking" (PDF). Official World Golf Ranking. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  3. "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.
  4. Choi gets company on PGA Tour as Korea emerges as world golf power
  5. Kim, Sang hun (22 September 2003). 최경주, "유럽대회 자주 출전하겠다". Yeonhap News (in Korean). Retrieved 30 April 2013.
  6. "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. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  7. "KJ Choi lands Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass". BBC Sport. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2011.
  8. "K.J. Choi to give $200,000 to relief effort". ESPN. Associated Press. 18 May 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  9. 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.
  10. 1 2 "K.J. Choi is a golf god who gives back – CNN Belief Blog". CNN.
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