South Korean golfer Choi Kyoung-ju will host his own tournament on home soil for the first time this week, bringing together stars from both the South Korean and U.S. tours.
The CJ Invitational hosted by K.J. Choi, the more famous moniker for the eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, will kick off at Haesley Nine Bridges in Yeoju, about 105 kilometers south of Seoul.
It’s the first golf tournament held in South Korea bearing the name of an active golfer.
Choi Kyoung-ju (second from left) and other participants, including Korean-American star Anthony Kim (right), pose for a promotional photo for the CJ Invitational golf tournament. (Yonhap News)
The K.J. Choi Foundation and Asian Tour Media jointly created the event in May this year, and the Korean Golf Tour and the Asian Tour will co-sanction the tournament.
“At this tournament, I want to play with young players with potential and give them a stepping stone,” Choi said. “There are a lot of things to take care of as both a player and the host of the event. I will try to do my best and hopefully that will lead to a great result.”
The 41-year-old Choi, the first South Korean man to win on the PGA Tour, is largely considered the greatest male golfer from the country. He’s enjoyed a banner year in 2011, highlighted by his win at The Players Championship, the tour’s richest tournament with a winner’s prize of $1.71 million. He is ranked fourth on the PGA Tour money list this season with more than $4.4 million and is 14th in the world.
With the Korean company CJ as the main sponsor, the four-round tournament will offer $750,000 in total prize money. CJ said it will run Choi’s event for three years.
Organizers said Tuesday the field will feature 55 KGT players, 55 Asian Tour players and 10 invitees.
Choi will be joined by Anthony Kim, a three-time PGA Tour winner and a rising Korean-American star, and Noh Seung-yul, the reigning money champion on the Asian Tour.
Kim, one of the invitees, said he was “honored” to play in Choi’s first event.
“He’s an epitome of what a Korean golfer should be,” Kim said. “He’s a well-respected man. I am trying to follow in his footsteps. Hopefully, I can put on a good show in his first tournament.”