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Tank, Emperor For the Day

Posted July. 10, 2007 03:05,   


Jack Nicklaus is a living golf legend who holds the record of the most major titles (18 wins), while Tiger Woods is a winner of 12 major tournaments and is considered the greatest golfer of the present day. With these two renowned athletes as hosts, a great number of well-reputed players have entered the two tournaments they have held, and the fact that Choi Kyung-ju has topped both tournaments is enough to grab the attention of the U.S. media. On top of that, at the Memorial Tournament he was behind by five strokes, while in this tournament he trailed by two, only to turn the tables and claim victory, for which he has received unsparing praise.

Choi Kyung-ju, a native to Wando, a small island in Jeonnam, was able to join the ranks of world stars with his ceaseless innovation. In this competition, his driving force was found in his putter which sported a grip that was so unusually thick it was almost embarrassing to look at. He happened to discover this putter in a shopping advertisement on television while in the States. It had a unique grip developed by the company Super Stroke which was more than twice the thickness of regular grips. He admitted, “It was so unusual that I found it awkward to show others, and used it only when practicing at home.”

However, Choi was able to take over the tricky green with this putter, which he brought out for the first time in this competition. His average number of putts per round was 28.8, while his number of putts after hitting the green was 1.685, which ranked second among the 120 players who participated in the tournament. This putter reduces wrist movement, having an excellent effect on mid- and long-distance putting. Up until last year, Choi Kyung-ju played 29.51 putts per round and hung back in 151st place, while his number of putts per hole was 1.792 (132nd place), causing Choi to drop his head once he reached the green. Realizing that he would not be able to make it to the next level without improving his weakness, he searched for various ways to overcome this, such as attempting to change the way he held his putter or even replacing his putter and grip altogether. As a result, he has also added his name to the top 50 in putting-related ranks this season. It is an outcome of his philosophy that for improvement, one must endure all kinds of embarrassment and fears.

Choi received $1.08 million in prize money from this competition, and for the first time since his U.S. debut, he has won more than three million dollars prize money in a season, with a total of $3.2436 million (approximately KRW 2.987 billion), elevating him to fourth place in prize money rankings. As long as he continues to strive for improvement, Choi Kyung-ju will continue to move forward.