After big win, Im’s caddie eyes return as player
March 02, 2020
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Sungjae Im's winning highlights from Honda
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Albin Choi always dreamed of winning on the PGA TOUR.
He just hoped it would be as a player.
Choi got his first PGA TOUR win Sunday, but it was as a caddie for The Honda Classic champion Sungjae Im. Choi was a fortuitous fill-in on Im’s bag. It was Choi’s first week caddying for his friend, whom he met during Im’s lone season on the Korn Ferry Tour. Ki Taek Lee, a former college teammate of Jon Rahm's, will be Im's caddie for the next two weeks. Lee, who has caddied for K.J. Choi, was on Im’s bag at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship but missed last week to attend a wedding.
Now Choi hopes the experience can help him continue his professional career as an injury to his left wrist heals.
“Just seeing what it takes to be a PGA TOUR winner and being there inside the ropes, it was really good,” Choi said Sunday. “I haven’t felt that in a very long time.”
Im won The Honda Classic by one stroke over Mackenzie Hughes. Im and Hughes both shot 66, matching Sunday’s lowest score, while playing in the fourth-to-last group. Choi was a groomsman in Hughes’ wedding.
“That was really crazy,” Hughes said about the pairing. “I thought it was kind of a dream come true because my caddie is a good friend of mine, and I get to walk with Albin who I've known since junior golf days. It was a lot of fun. We had a few good laughs out there."
Choi, 27, is a former Canadian Amateur champion and was the 2013 Atlantic Coast Player of the Year while playing for North Carolina State (he won the award one year after someone named Brooks Koepka earned that honor). Choi turned pro in 2013 and won two years later on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada. He finished sixth on the Order of Merit that year.
He’s played the past four seasons on the Korn Ferry Tour, collecting five top-10s in 110 career Korn Ferry Tour starts. Choi, who lives in Jupiter, Florida, lost his status after finishing 117th on the regular-season points list last year. He started caddying at nearby Old Palm Golf Club about four months ago while nursing a wrist injury. This was his first time caddying on the PGA TOUR.
He had experience at PGA National, though. Choi got his Korn Ferry Tour card with a T14 finish in the 2015 Q-School at PGA National.
“I know how hard it is to navigate your way through this golf course. … I just felt like the experience kind of helped me today,” Choi said. “From a player standpoint, I kind of knew what he was feeling at certain times, and I felt like I could kind of draw upon my experiences to help him out today and to keep his head in the right place.”