Doha (QATAR): World number fifteen KJ Choi of South Korea is the latest big name player from the US PGA Tour to confirm he will join a star-studded line-up when the 2012 Commercialbank Qatar Masters presented by Dolphin Energy gets underway at Doha Golf Club from February 2-5.
Over the past few years, the $2.5 million tournament has consistently attracted the cream of the US PGA Tour and this year is no exception with Choi Doha-bound nine months after winning the biggest title of his professional career and the one considered golf’s “fifth Major” The Players Championship.
“It’s a great honour for us to have KJ Choi confirmed for his first ever appearance in the tournament,” said Hassan Al Nuaimi, President of the Qatar Golf Association (QGA), organisers of the event in association with the Qatar Olympic Committee (QOC) and title sponsor The Commercialbank of Qatar.
“KJ’s eight win on the US PGA Tour – including, of course The Players Championship – means he is considered Asia’s most successful golfer, while he was also the first Asian player to break into the top ten in the world.
“Many US PGA Tour stars have played here in Qatar and we are delighted they are spreading the word on the quality of the Commercialbank Qatar Masters and the challenge of Doha Golf Club.”
Kyoung-Ju Choi won the biggest title of his career with a play-off victory over David Toms at The Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass, while he also enjoyed seven top ten finishes in 2011, including runner-up at the AT&T National and a share of third place with World Number One Luke Donald at The Tour Championship,
As well as eight wins on the US PGA Tour, he also has four wins on the Asian Tour to his name, was the first Korean to earn a US PGA Tour card and created golfing history by becoming the first Korean to win on the US PGA Tour and The European Tour having won the German Masters in 2003.
The son of a rice farmer whose interest in golf grew after one of his high school teachers recommended he try the sport, Choi is also a former power lifter squat lifting 350 pounds as a thirteen year old. A father of two and now resident in Texas, Choi pledged $200,000 from his Players Championship winnings to victims of the deadly tornadoes that struck the American South in early 2011.
"I believe in sharing," says Choi, who has established the KJ Choi Foundation to help the needy in his native South Korea. "A lot of people make money but we all live in a society where we need to share. When I see people suffering, that hurts me a lot.”
Commercialbank Group CEO Andrew Stevens said the staging of the 2012 event would again underline Qatar’s position as a global player in international sporting events.
“Once again we will have a very powerful field competing at Doha Golf Club with many European Tour and US PGA Tour stars already confirmed,” he said. “I am certain General Manager Chris Myers and the club staff will have the golf course at its challenging best – Doha is generally considered the toughest leg of the Middle East swing and I am sure 2012 will be no different.”