HOUSTON -- K.J. Choi, who has supported relief efforts worldwide as well as programs targeted to domestic and international Korean communities, is the recipient of the 2013 Golf Writers Association of America’s Charlie Bartlett Award.
The 42-year-old founded the K.J. Choi Foundation in 2007 with the mission of helping children and communities break the cycle of hopelessness and achieve their dreams, but his reach has extended to scholarships and global aid for hurricane and tsunami victims.
The award, named for the first secretary of the GWAA, is given to a professional golfer for his/her unselfish contributions to the betterment of society. Choi will be honored at the GWAA Annual Awards Dinner April 10 in Augusta, Ga.
"I would like to thank all those who have supported me,’’ Choi said. “Without them I would never have been able to be in a position to be helping others.
“Thank you to the Golf Writer's Association of America. Although I feel that I haven't done that much, I am honored to be recognized for my actions. 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, born in Wando, South Korea, became the first Korean player to play full time on TOUR and was the 2000 Rookie of the Year. When he won the 2005 Chrysler Classic of Greensboro he presented a $90,000 check to a Korean Presbyterian church in Greensboro. Since then, his charitable work has increased.
Choi donated $90,000 to hurricane victims in the United States in 2009 and, after his 2011 win at THE PLAYERS Championship, he donated $200,000 to victims of the tornadoes that ravaged the southeastern part of the U.S. Later than year, he $100,000 to victims of the tsunami that hit Japan.
In addition to those gifts, Choi ‘s foundation supports scholarships, junior golf in Korea and supports Korean communities with food aid and development of farming production.
Choi follows Notah Begay (2012), Lorena Ochoa (2011), Ernie Els (2010), Tiger Woods (2007), Greg Norman (2008) and Jack Nicklaus (2009) as recent recipients.
Other former Bartlett winners include the Louisiana trio of Hal Sutton, David Toms and Kelly Gibson, Val Skinner, Betsy King, Tom Watson, Payne Stewart, Tom Lehman, Arnold Palmer, Kenny Perry, Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade, Patty Berg and Andy North.
The GWAA will also honor Players of Year Rory McIlroy, Stacy Lewis and Roger Chapman, William D. Richardson Award winner David Fay, Ben Hogan Award winner David Meador and ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award winner Laura Davies at the April 10 dinner.