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[Editorial] K.J. Choi and His Noblesse Oblige

Posted January. 16, 2008 22:22,   


K.J. Choi has garnered a total of seven PGA tour wins by taking the trophy from this year’s U.S. PGA Tour Sony Open. This is indeed a remarkable achievement by a Korean golfer who refused to stay as a top domestic golf player and begun to compete at the U.S. PGA championship in 2000.

After confirming his victory at the PGA tour, Choi donated a total of 300 million won, equivalent to $320,000, to the bereaved families of the victims of a deadly warehouse fire in Icheon.

Out of the prize money from this tournament amounting to $944,000, 30 percent was deducted for tax since Choi is a foreign player and the donated money made up about half of it. Choi, who competes in two domestic tournaments each year, often donated his entire prize money to charities. It would not be easy for anyone to donate a large sum of money to the less fortunate without hesitation even if they were in Choi’s shoes, not to mention that he earned his honor and compensation in return for his painstaking training.

The significance of Choi’s seven PGA tour wins should not be underestimated.

Although quite a few Korean players sometimes make the top ten list of the U.S. LPGA tour, it cannot be a match to the PGA tour in terms of players’ talent, popularity and the intensity of competition. There are more than twice as many golf manias in Japan than in Korea, but Japanese only won the PGA tour twice.

The secret of Choi’s success is his strong determination that has helped him to dash toward his goals while overcoming numerous barriers.

When Choi was a high school student living in a fishing village, he went to a driving range by a cultivator and learned golf in return for picking up golf balls and cleaning the place. When he was in the U.S., he desperately searched for golf courses that held competitions with his clumsy English skill and strived to improve his golf skills.

The fundamental principle of the capitalism is that the market rewards those who have won competitions via their outstanding creativity and efforts. If a society does not provide psychological motifs to compete, the nation will plunge into stagnation. However, if the winners take everything and do not look after losers, the society can achieve neither stability nor unity. In a competitive society, the winners who show kindhearted gestures of embracing the losers will contribute to the prosperity and development of the market economy and the stability of society.

We are proud of Choi who has displayed both stunning golf skills and high virtue. In our society, there are many high ranking officials who should follow Choi’s noblesse oblige manner of practicing.