Residence: Houston, Texas
K.J. Choi was born in Wando, South Korea and is the first golfer from South Korea to earn a PGA Tour card. His interest in golf grew after one of his high school teachers recommended he try the game and he was soon studying Jack Nicklaus lesson books and videos, spending long hours hitting practice balls on his island home's only practice range. His father was a rice farmer and as a teenage power lifter earned the nickname "Tank" because he could squat 350 pounds although he weighed a meagre 95. He didn't have the upper-body strength to pursue that sport, so he decided to concentrate on golf at age 16.
After establishing his name on the PGA Asian Tour, where he picked up his first professional win at the 1996 Korean Open he qualified for the PGA Tour by finishing tied 35th at the 1999 Qualifying School. In his rookie season in 2000 he finished 134th on the money list and as a result had to go back to ‘Q-School’. Since 2001 however he has been an ever present on the tour.
In 2002 he became the first Korean to win on the PGA Tour when he won the Compaq Classic of New Orleans, and followed this up with another win at the Tampa Bay Classic in the same year.
His career came full circle in 2007 when he won Jack Nicklaus's Memorial Tournament. He mentioned on CBS during the AT&T National a few weeks later that he read Jack Nicklaus's "Golf My Way" book early in his career, which assisted him in becoming the golfer he is today. In August 2007 he reached the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings for the first time.
In January 2008, Choi won the Sony Open in Hawaii and rose to a career high 5th in the Official World Rankings. This was Choi’s 7th victory on the PGA Tour and after picking up his winnings Choi donated $320,000 to the victims' families of a warehouse fire in Seoul, South Korea, which killed over forty people. After a shaky start to his golfing career K.J is now settled on the PGA Tour and sits in 23rd place on the PGA Tour Career Money list with a fortune of over $18million.
Kyung-Ju Choi Club History
Below is a selection of clubs used by Kyung-Ju Choi throughout his career
Kyung-Ju Choi Tournament History
2007 PODS Championship
8-11 March - PODS Championship - Westin Innisbrook - Copperhead Course. Won by 1998 Open Champion Mark Calcavecchia with a 10 under par score of 274. This was Calcavecchia’s first Tour victory since the 2005 Bell Canadian – and his 13th win in total. The $954,000 first prize takes him over the $20m career earnings for his career. He finished at 10-under 274 – and had a bit of a let-off when Heath Slocum missed a 4-foot par putt on the final hole which would have taken him into the play-off.
In Kyung-Ju Choi's bag...Here at the PODS, K.J pulls one of Nike forged blades from his bag - he has his fitted with S400 Dynamic Gold shafts. According to his own website, his faiway wood is a Nike Ignite T-60. The driver is the square Nike Sumo 2 and can be seen clearly at the top of his backswing. It is 9.5 degree and fitted with an MCC Matrix 02iK shaft. Incidentally, K.J was the first player to win a tournament - the Chrysler - using a square driver. Wedges are a 54 degree Nike Pro Combo and 60 degree SV.
(CLICK ON IMAGES TO SEE FULL SIZE VERSION).