[EDITORIALS]Kudos for Choi Kyoung-juSouth Korean golfer Choi Kyoung-ju didn’t win this year’s Masters tournament at the Augusta Golf Club. Nevertheless, his third place finish, the best ever for an Asian golfer, was certainly a great achievement that will be remembered by the world. His achievement gave the peninsula a morale boost equaling that of Pak Se-ri’s LPGA tournament win in 1998, right after the Asian economic crisis. Even foreign news agencies such as The Associated Press reported Choi’s achievement at length.
The fact that Choi’s name was on the top portion of the leaderboard of the tournament indicates how he has succeeded in becoming a well-known player in the professional golf world. Choi has succeeded at a task that even Japanese golf players find hard to achieve, although they have the luxury of playing in a country that has 10 times more golf clubs than Korea. The best finish by an Asian player at the Masters prior to Choi was a fourth place finish by Toshi Izawa in 2001.
Choi’s achievements are the result of his strong will and endless drive. Once, when Choi made his debut at the PGA in 2000, he was eating dinner alone at a Korean restaurant in Florida. The Korean owner offered him dinner for free and wanted to join him for a chat, but the golfer politely declined the offer, saying that he needed to concentrate on the tournament. The story demonstrates to us how strong Choi’s determination and devotion to the game are.
It is well known that Choi had a hard childhood. He grew up in a fishing village on Wando island that didn’t have a practice range or a golf course at the time. He has a reputation for practicing endless hours, working on his game. His determination and hard work have resulted today in two wins on the PGA tour and a third place finish at the Masters after only two years and two months playing on the tour.
The birth of a star such as Choi Kyoung-ju leads to the elevation of the country’s “brand” image. His sole achievement has a far greater effect in promoting our country than a grand promotion campaign with a billion dollar budget would have.
We hope that Choi Kyoung-ju will continue his success and stand one day as one of the most respected players in the PGA.