South Korean PGA Tour veteran Choi Kyung-ju has been named a vice captain for a team of non-European international stars at next year’s Presidents Cup scheduled on his home soil.
At a press conference held in Ridgedale, Missouri, on Wednesday, local time, Choi was announced as the vice captain to Zimbabwe’s Nick Price for the biennial competition.
The Presidents Cup pits a team of Americans against a squad of international players representing non-European nations in match play over four days.
Choi, an eight-time PGA Tour winner better known as K.J. Choi in the U.S., said the vice-captaincy is “a tremendous honor.”
|PGA Tour veteran Choi Kyung-ju. (Yonhap)|
“Seeing the Presidents Cup played in Korea will be the most incredible experience for my country,” Choi was quoted as saying on PGA Tour.com. “I look forward to helping Nick and my fellow captain’s assistants as we look to reclaim the Cup.”
The Presidents Cup, which was inaugurated in 1994, will come to Asia for the first time next year, when the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, a metropolitan city just west of Seoul, will be the host from Oct. 8 to 11.
Choi, 44, has played in the Presidents Cup three times, in 2003, 2007 and 2011. He was a captain’s pick in 2003, becoming the first South Korean to compete in the event.
The U.S. has dominated the international team, with eight wins, one loss and one tie since the event’s inauguration in 1994.
The Presidents Cup was initially held in even-numbered years, with the Ryder Cup, an older competition between U.S. golfers and their European counterparts, played in odd-numbered years. The 2001 Ryder Cup was pushed back by a year in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, and the Presidents Cup has been held in odd-numbered years since 2003.
The competition is held alternately between the U.S. and a non-European nation. Australia, Canada and South Africa have been the other hosts of the Presidents Cup.
Price, an 18-time PGA Tour winner with three major titles, will captain the international side for the second straight Presidents Cup.
Jay Haas, who has nine PGA Tour victories, will serve as the U.S. captain for the first time, after serving as an assistant in 2009, 2011 and 2013, all U.S. victories. Fred Couples, the American captain in each of the past three Presidents Cups, will be an assistant to Haas in 2015.
Each team will have a dozen players: the top 10 players on the Presidents Cup points list plus two additional players selected by the captains.
Through the previous PGA Tour event, the Memorial, Choi ranked 19th in the international standings for the Presidents Cup, two spots below the top-ranked South Korean, Kim Hyung-sung.
In making the announcement of his selection, Price said Choi could well be on the team as a player.
“Having played on previous teams, he is going to be a very valuable addition, and I am certainly not ruling out the possibility that he may make the team,” Price said. “This is a momentous occasion for Korea and Asia as a whole, and I look so forward to having the opportunity to work with him in leading what I know will be an exceptionally strong international team.”
In a phone interview with Yonhap News Agency, Choi said he hopes to capitalize on his local knowledge of South Korea to help Price. Choi also said he feels he has a chance to make the team as a player.
“The top 10 players on our side will be picked based on our performances through September next year,” he noted. “I am only ranked 85th in the world today, but if I can put together some top-10 finishes and pick up a victory, I can definitely qualify for the team.”