Presidents Cup Asian debut will help game grow: Choi

Mon May 18, 2015 11:10pm EDT
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SEOUL (Reuters) - This year's Presidents Cup in Incheon will not only spur the growth of golf in South Korea, it will encourage other Asian nations to bring the tournament to their shores and boost the sport's popularity throughout the region, says KJ Choi.

The Korean, vice captain to International team skipper Nick Price, said the team leadership would leave no stone unturned in their planning for the match-up with the United States from Oct. 8-11 at Incheon's Jack Nicklaus Golf Club.

The United States have won eight of the 10 Presidents Cups played since the biennial competition was established in 1994 and will be heavy favorites for this year's contest, which is the first to be hosted by an Asian country.

"This will bring big changes to golf not just in Korea, but all around Asia," Choi said in a statement on Tuesday.

"The Korean golf community will embrace the tournament and hopefully more young kids will start dreaming about playing golf and reaching the top.

"Also, other countries in Asia will attempt to host the Presidents Cup in the future, which will lead to the elevation of the game in the region."

Choi, who celebrates his 45th birthday on Tuesday, said he had not given up hope of playing on Price's team, but with his world ranking having slipped to number 128 it is likely the 2011 Players Championship winner will act more in a leadership role.

Jay Haas takes over from Fred Couples as skipper of the U.S. team.

The International team, representing the rest of the world minus Europe, have won the event just once -- in Melbourne in 1998.   Continued...