Golfer KJ Choi makes debut in SA

Meshack Motloung

Meshack Motloung

Expectation will be high when KJ Choi tees off for the first time in the Nedbank Golf Challenge at the Gary Player Country Club in Sun City next month.

Choi is the second player from South Korea after TC Chen to take part in this event.

Choi is the first male golfer from South Korea to taste success at the highest level of the game, the PGA Tour.

He first arrived in the US in 1999 and has successfully integrated himself into the American way of life. He lives in Houston, Texas, with his wife and three children.

The Choi family have made their home in the US and speak three languages, Korean, English and Spanish.

When he was 15 years old, Choi's physical education teacher predicted that he would be a golfer.

He began by hitting balls into a net behind the local cemetery and two of his father's friends would drive him to Kwangju Country Club three hours away to play.

In 1995 he won his first professional title, the Korean Tour's Fantom Open. He came closest to a major title in the 2004 Masters when he finished third behind Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els, shooting a 69 in the final round.

This year Choi played 20 tournaments, making 15 cuts and finishing in the top 10 four times. He began the year with a bang, winning the Sony Open in Hawaii.