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By Yoo Jee-ho
SEOUL, April 1 (Yonhap) -- South Korean PGA Tour veteran Choi Kyoung-ju will enter the Asia Pacific Golf Hall of Fame, his agency said on Monday.
In a press release, IMG Korea said Choi, 42, will enter the hall in a special induction ceremony in Jakarta, Indonesia in November, during the 2013 Asia Pacific Golf Summit.
According to IMG Korea and the Asia Pacific Golf Group, which operates the hall, Choi is the first South Korean to enter the Asia Pacific Hall of Fame. It was founded in 1998.
Mike Sebastian, the CEO of the Asia Pacific Golf Group, said Choi, one of the most successful Asians to ever play on the PGA Tour, was an easy choice for the hall.
"Choi is a real trailblazer -- a man who possesses the talent, skill and temerity to play his game at the highest level and succeed," Sebastian was quoted as saying on the Asia Pacific Golf Group's Web site. "What he has achieved in the professional game in Asia, Europe and the United States will serve as an inspiring and motivating influence on Asians to aim high and to go for gold in golf."
Choi, more affectionately known as K.J. Choi in the U.S., is the first South Korea to play full-time on the PGA Tour and has won eight times. He peaked at No. 5 on the world golf rankings in March 2008, and enjoyed the biggest win of his career at The Players Championship in 2011, beating David Toms in a playoff to earn the tour's largest winner's check of US$1.71 million.
In February, Choi was named the 2013 winner of the Charlie Bartlett Award for his extensive charity work off the field. The award, named after the first secretary of the Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA), recognizes professional golfers for their "contributions to the betterment of society."
He has donated portions of his winnings to help hurricane and tsunami victims in the U.S. and Japan. Choi set up the K.J. Choi Foundation in 2007 to help Korean children and communities, and also to help nurture young Korean golfing talent. He has been hosting his own tournament, called the KJ Choi Invitational, in South Korea since 2011.
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