[GOLF]Wrist injury ends K.J.’s 2005 tour

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[GOLF]Wrist injury ends K.J.’s 2005 tour

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The 2005 Professional Golfers Association Tour ended Sunday with Bart Bryant capturing the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga. The invitation-only event pits the top-30 money winners from the previous weekend against each other. Choi Kyoung-ju, better known as K.J., wasn’t one of them.
K.J.’s season ended abruptly on Oct. 28 when he withdrew from the second round of the Chrysler Championship with a wrist injury. In fact, the 2005 season had been so substandard for the 35-year-old that it was probably fitting that his season ended so unceremoniously.
Save for his win at the Chrysler Classic of Greensboro in early October, Choi vastly underachieved this season. Take away that two-stroke victory ― his first in three seasons ― and the $900,000 winning purse, and Choi would only have earned slightly more than $865,000. That total would have been Choi’s worst since 2001, when he picked up just over $800,000 in his second full season on the tour.
But it isn’t always about the money. With the bloated purse and endorsement deals, even mediocre PGA Tour pros can rack up literally millions of dollars, as attested by 77 players who earned at least $1 million last season, and 78 who did so this year.
No, for Choi, it was about consistency, his trademark in previous seasons.
While statistics certainly don’t occupy the venerable role in golf as they do in baseball, numbers don’t lie. In an 11-tournament stretch in the heart of the season starting with The Players Championship in late March and running to the season’s last major, the PGA Championship in mid-August, Choi missed three cuts and had only one top-10 finish, a category used to measure a golfers’ consistency.
The most disappointing aspect of Choi’s season, however, was in his performance at the four major championships. Coming off a year in which he finished in the top-10 at the Masters and the PGA Championship, Choi was never in contention in any of the four grand slam events in 2005.
The word “struggle” is a relative term on the PGA Tour, of course. After all, Choi did end the season with more than $1.7 million in earnings ― good for 40th on the tour ― and he is ranked 34th on the Official World Golf Rankings.
But then throwing the numbers aside for a moment, Choi has long been regarded as one of the tour’s best ball strikers, someone who makes up for his lack of distance with accuracy.
That trait should serve him well later in his career, and earn him a few more dollars as well.


by Yoo Jee-ho

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