Jeju hosts more of golf’s big namesJust over a week after Tiger Woods’ appearance at Jeju, more than 30 other prominent professional golfers are coming to the island for the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in Asia, beginning this Thursday.
The Shinhan Korea Golf Championship is a four-round, 72-hole stroke play event sponsored by the Shinhan Financial Group and the Korea National Tourism Organization, with total prize money of $3.55 million, including $1 million for the winner.
The event will take place at the 7,515-yard (6,870-meter) Jungmun Golf Club, the longest course in Korea. It’s part of the PGA Tour’s “Challenge Season,” a series of exhibition events that occur after the regular golfing season is over. Jeju island has hosted the LPGA Tour CJ Nine Bridges Classic since 2002.
The field has 38 players from nine countries, including the United States, Great Britain, Spain, Germany and Korea. Six-time major championship winner Nick Faldo, PGA Tour champions Rich Beem and Shaun Micheel, nine-time European PGA Tour event winner Padraig Harrington and 11-time winner Miguel Angel Jimenez will be on hand. Two-time PGA Tour event winner K.J. Choi, along with up-and-comer Kevin Na, lead the Korean contingent.
Harrington, from Ireland, has been a prominent figure on both the European Tour and the PGA Tour, with nine wins on the European Tour, including the Linde German Masters and the Omega Hong Kong Open this season.
It has been a particularly good year for Spain’s Jimenez, who recorded four EPGA wins. Harrington and Jimenez ranked third and fourth in the EPGA Tour money list this season.
Despite having won no PGA titles this year, Choi has shown his best form recently, with a third-place finish at the JGTO Dunlop Phoenix Tournament. Choi had two top-10 finishes in the major PGA Tour events this season.
Faldo has won three Masters and three British Opens, recording his first major championship victory in 1987 at the British Open. Faldo has amassed 30 European Tour victories and four PGA Tour titles.
Beem finished seventh on the PGA Tour money list in 2002, with total winnings of $3 million, also notching the PGA Championship. Mark Calcavecchia, the 1989 British Open champion, has 11 career PGA Tour victories.
“It will be exciting to see a number of our PGA Tour members competing in this premier Challenge Season tournament, the first to be held in Asia,” said Timothy W. Finchem, PGA Tour commissioner. “Hosting a truly international field for the Korea Golf Championship is a great accomplishment.”
Practice rounds are scheduled for today, and a professional-amateur round will be held tomorrow. KBS will broadcast live from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday and 1:50 to 4 p.m. for the final round on Sunday.
NBC plans to air the event from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Sunday; the USA Network will air it from 2 to 4 p.m. EST Thursday through Saturday.
Day tickets will be sold for 20,000 won ($19) for the first and second round, and for 50,000 won for the third and fourth round. A ticket for all four rounds costs 100,000 won. Tickets can be purchased onsite or through the Web site www.ticketlink.co.kr. There are plane and hotel packages available, priced between 300,000 and 500,000 won depending on the length of the stay.
by Limb Jae-un
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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