(Reuters) - South Korea’s Choi Jin-ho will swap golf spikes for army boots and begin his military service after playing for an Asia-Pacific select side against China in next week’s Nissan Cup.
Just days after the Ryder Cup-style team event in Shenzhen from November 30 to December 2, Choi will begin 20 months of compulsory service, starting with five weeks of brutal basic training.
“After taking the basic training course, I’ll probably be assigned to the reserve forces because I am married and have a baby,” he told the OneAsia Tour.
“My wife takes a good care of baby and sacrifices herself for me and my game,” he added. “I am truly grateful to her.”
All able-bodied South Korean men must perform national service but Choi is determined that the interruption of almost two years will not spell the end of his career.
“I can’t play any tournaments during my service period but I can practice as much as I want,” the 28-year-old added.
”I will be free to go to driving range or gym after duty and I am off most weekends.
“I think with all the practice I will be doing, I could emerge even better because I will have enough time to get myself prepared for the future.”
Choi pointed to Kim Dae-sub’s victory at last month’s Korea Open, just two months after being discharged from military duty as an example of what can be achieved.
“Kim Dae-sub is a great example,” said Choi, a three-times winner on the Korean Tour. “He was also in the reserves.” (Reporting by Alastair Himmer in Tokyo; Editing by John O‘Brien)