Choi vows to grow CJ Invitational

K.J. Choi vowed to grow his own tournament, the CJ Invitational, into one of Asia's finest despite being an ungracious host by winning the inaugural event on Sunday.

Golf News: KJ Choi

The Korean star comfortably triumphed at the immaculate Haesley Nine Bridges Golf Club, denying young compatriot Noh Seung-yul, the reigning Asian Tour number one by two shots.

Choi, an Asian Tour honorary member and an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour, expects next year's second edition to be raised several notches with the inclusion of more stars from the PGA Tour.

"This year, we've got Anthony Kim playing and I'm very happy he is supporting my tournament. The problem is the Presidents Cup in Australia (next month). Many players are stopping over in China, Singapore and Melbourne. There are too many tournaments for them," said Choi, the world's number 14.

"Some top players have talked to me that they'll play in my tournament next year. In the future, we'll have more big names coming over. I want players to say that I want to play in the CJ Invitational as it's a good tournament with a good golf course, good condition, good food and good management to make it the best tournament.

"That's why I'm checking everything. I've got two jobs," he said.

Choi took a hands-on approach in the US$750,000 tournament which was sanctioned by the Asian Tour and Korean Golf Tour. He ensured the roping for the galleries was done to allow crowds to watch the action comfortably and also enforced a ban on cameras and handphones. He also moved several tee boxes forward to ensure the galleries could watch the action from the back of the tees. His Foundation also supported various community projects.

The 41-year-old Korean, the Asian Tour's first graduate to hit the PGA Tour, played host to players and sponsors all week long and was the last man to leave the club after the pro-am dinner on Wednesday night.

"The players felt how good the course conditions were and I think they were impressed in many ways. This tournament is going to get better. I'm looking forward to seeing this tournament grow into a top-class tournament in the world," said Choi.

"I'm so happy. I'm very proud. First event I'm hosting and then winning it. We were very successful and this was a first class tournament in Asia. Haesley Nine Bridges and CJ were fantastic," said Choi.

Three-time PGA Tour winner Kim was also delighted to support Choi's first hosting of a tournament.

"Everything about this tournament is first class. I know K.J. has put a lot of time into it to make it a world-class event. More players will start coming. The scheduling didn't work out especially with the Presidents Cup. The tournament is what I expected it to be. This is run as good as any tournament I've played," said Kim.

"It was a great week. K.J. put on a great tournament and the fans came out for this event and showed support. Hopefully I can come back next year and put on a better show."

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