South Korean golf legend K.J. Choi, rising star Byeong Hun An and Sangmoon Bae, who recently completed mandatory military service, have confirmed they will carry the local charge at the PGA TOUR’s inaugural CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES next month.
As the first official PGA TOUR tournament held in South Korea, the historic event will offer US$9.25 million in prize money, one of the largest in world golf, when a 78-man elite field gathers on the holiday isle of Jeju from October 19-22.
World No. 4 Justin Thomas and the ninth-ranked Jason Day, who have combined to win 14 PGA TOUR events in the last three seasons, have already committed to play in the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES along with former world No. 1 Adam Scott, Paul Casey, Rafa Cabrera Bello and reigning THE PLAYERS Championship winner Si Woo Kim.
Choi, 47, is hailed as one of the nation’s golfing heroes as he has won eight times on the PGA TOUR, including THE PLAYERS Championship in 2011. The veteran star has also won nine times in Japan, Europe and Asia and is looking forward to featuring in the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES.
“It’s a special feeling to participate in the first PGA TOUR regular season event in my home country. CJ is providing a wonderful tournament for all the golf fans in South Korea as well as young players who have the opportunity to play at a world-class level. Hopefully the Korean players will display a great show for the fans including myself. I look forward to playing in front of our home fans at Nine Bridges,” said Choi.
Choi’s trailblazing feats for nearly the past two decades have served to inspire a new generation of South Korean golfers, who include the 25-year-old An and Bae, 31.
The powerful An enjoyed three top-10s on the PGA TOUR this season to safely retain his card for the 2017-18 season while Bae, who is a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, will be continuing his comeback in the game after spending the past two years serving in the South Korean military.
An believes the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES will positively impact the growth of men’s golf in the country. “Since the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES was announced last year, I have been very much looking forward to the event,” said An, who has three professional victories.
“I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for South Korean golfers to compete against a world-class field and I’m sure our fans will also enjoy a week of great golf. With a sizeable prize fund on offer, we will have a lot to play for but ultimately, all the local players will be dreaming of securing a home win. If this happens, it will do so much for the development of the game in South Korea and Asia and help inspire the next generation of young golfers.”
Bae is making his golfing comeback at this week’s Shinhan Donghae Open on home soil and is eager to quickly regain his footing on the PGA TOUR.
“As I played on TOUR around the world, I have always dreamed of playing in a PGA TOUR in Korea. Now I am thrilled to play in Korea’s first PGA TOUR regular season event in front of my home fans. To make a successful comeback, I have been working very hard on my game and I hope to perform well at the CJ CUP. I hope to see everyone at Nine Bridges and I look forward to seeing all the fan again,” said Bae, who featured for the International Team when the Presidents Cup was held in South Korea in 2015 before starting his military service stint.
Featuring a 78-man field, the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES will provide Jeju Special Self-Governing Province an opportunity to promote the beauty of Jeju island to the world through the TOUR’s television broadcasts which has a potential reach of one billion homes in 226 countries.
CJ Corporation signed a 10-year agreement with the PGA TOUR last year to stage the lucrative tournament which prize fund on offer is amongst the highest on the PGA TOUR. SBS, the PGA TOUR’s partner in Korea for over 10 years, will be the host broadcaster of the event.
Tickets for the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES can now be purchased on http://en.thecjcup.com/tickets.asp