South Korean PGA Tour veteran Choi Kyung-ju on Thursday was named a recipient of an award for his extensive charity work off the field.
The Golf Writers Association of America (GWAA) said Choi, affectionately called K.J. Choi outside of Korea, is the 2013 winner of its Charlie Bartlett Award. Named after the first secretary of the GWAA, the award recognizes professional golfers for their “contributions to the betterment of society.”
Choi, 42, was acknowledged for his support for relief efforts and for a program helping Korean communities in the U.S. He will receive the award at a ceremony in Augusta, Georgia, during the week of the Masters in April.
“Although I feel that I haven’t done that much, I am honored to be recognized for my actions,” Choi said in a statement. “This is the first award of any sort that I have received during my 13-year career on the PGA Tour, and I feel that much more honored to be receiving an award for my charitable actions rather than my play.”
Choi launched 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, bearing his name, in South Korea since 2011.
Choi has also reached out to help hurricane and tsunami victims worldwide. After winning the 2005 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro, his third career PGA Tour win, Choi donated $90,000 to a Korean Presbyterian church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He also made a donation of $90,000 to U.S. hurricane victims in 2009.
Then after his 2011 win at The Players Championship, the PGA Tour’s most lucrative event with the winner’s check of $1.71 million, Choi donated $200,000 to victims of tornadoes in the U.S., and another $100,000 to tsunami victims in Japan later that year.
Former Charlie Bartlett Award winners include Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Jack Nicklaus.
Choi is the first South Korean to play full-time on the PGA Tour, where he has won eight times. (Yonhap News)