Geum Yi

Sage PGA Tour veteran preaches patience, commitment to younger players

October 15, 2019
각오 밝히는 최경주 (서귀포=연합뉴스)

각오 밝히는 최경주 (서귀포=연합뉴스)

Having won eight times on the PGA Tour, South Korean veteran Choi Kyoung-ju knows what it takes to be successful on the world’s most competitive golf circuit.

Ahead of a PGA tournament on home soil this week, the sage one spoke of the importance of having patience and commitment to excellence.

“When I look at young Korean players, I see that they’re not that far behind the best players of the world, in terms of their length off the tee and other technical aspects of the game,” Choi said Tuesday at his pre-tournament press conference for the CJ Cup @ Nine Bridges, the only PGA Tour stop in South Korea each year.

“They just need to play with more patience,” said Choi, better known outside South Korea as K.J. Choi. “If they play every hole with a sense of responsibility, they’ll be competitive.”

Choi, a 49-year-old who debuted on the tour in 2000, said the players today are in far better spots than he had been, in terms of their technical development, fitness level and language proficiency. They just have to make the most of the situation.

“I’ve told a few players about how they should take great care of themselves off the field,” he said. “How you spend your time away from the course will determine how long you can play out here. If they can do that, I think they’ll have a much better career than I’ve had.”

His best days may be in the rearview mirror, but Choi, who plans to split his time between the over-50 senior circuit and the PGA Tour starting next year, said he hasn’t lost his competitive edge.

“I think I’ll go for a top-10 finish this week,” he said. “I have to rely on my experience and make sure I will peak physically for this tournament.”