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The “Tank” Triumphs

Posted November. 23, 2003 23:10,   


“Tank” Choi Kyoung-ju’s (age 33, Superior, TaylorMade) lucky number is four. Although the number four is recognized as a social taboo that people often find themselves avoiding, the number four relaxes Choi so much that it is known he often makes use of ball number four.

Choi Kyoung-ju successfully represented Korean golf by scoring four flags in three games.

It happened during the fourth round of the 2003 President’s Cup – an international competition held at the Links Golf Course (par 73) at Fancourt Hotel and Country Club at George, Cape Province, South Africa, on November 23. Choi Kyoung-ju, who had teamed up with Adam Scott from Australia, played a four-ball style game against Kenny Perry and Jerry Kelly, and together beat Perry and Kelly by an easy five holes with four holes left. As the first Korean to participate in this tournament, Choi had a rough start by losing all his games in the first three rounds. Choi, however, led the International team by achieving his first victory in the fourth round.

Scott hit a birdie on the first hole (par 4), giving the international team a one-point lead. Despite the anxiety due to the strong performances, Choi was able to contribute two points by hitting a birdie on the fourth hole (par 4). In the seventh hole (par 4), Scott scored again by hitting a birdie. Choi then contributed once again by successfully hitting a 3.5 meter birdie putt on the eighth hole (par 3) and securing four points. The Choi-Scott team up wrapped up the match by the fourteenth hole (par 4). Scott was able to go for a par save by hitting a bunker shot 50 cm away from the pin while Perry had hit the ball to the left bunker and Kelly to the right rough.

“I believed I would win at least one match,” said Choi, who had the very well-respected 83 year-old Coach Phil Ritson come to cheer for him. “It would not have been as fun if I had won from the start. I am very happy to come out victorious thanks to a good team-up with Scott.”

Choi and Scott led the international team by being the first couple to come out victorious, and the international team celebrated their good teamwork by dining together and winning the next five matches. This was the first time a team won all six matches in one day.

Els, who had invited his fellow players to his estate for a steak and wine dinner, left the tournament as the only player with four wins and no losses.

The international team, which was previously behind the U.S. team (9.5-3), surpassed the U.S. team by three points after adding six wins and gaining a total of 12.5 points from 12 wins, one tie and nine losses.

The International team will win its first President’s Cup in five years if it can secure five more points during the twelve games left in the singles match round that will be played on the last day. As for the U.S. team, the players are looking forward to accomplishing a come-from-behind victory just as they had in 1994 by taking away eight points out of the twelve matches played on the last day.

Choi Kyoung-ju played for his last win as the singles tee-off started at 7 p.m. on November 23 against 1997 British Open Champion, Justin Leonard, the fourth player. Choi had asked team captain Gary Player if he could be “positioned number four on the list.” On the other hand, “Golf King” Tiger Woods scored a decent two win-two loss score and played against “Prince” Els for a highlight event.

Jong-Seok Kim kjs0123@donga.com