Q&A with Albin Choi on adjusting to professional golf, his hometown of Toronto and more
June 11, 2019
By Adam Stanley, PGATOUR.COM
- Albin Choi is No. 90 in The 25 standings after three-straight made cuts. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Just hold on, we’re going home.
Albin Choi holds Toronto close to his heart, and it's been even more apparent this spring on the Web.com Tour as Choi’s beloved Toronto Raptors have made a spirited run to the NBA Finals. The team is just a game away from winning their first NBA championship.
Choi, who spent his life just north of downtown Toronto – Canada’s largest city – and was part of Golf Canada’s National Team program growing up before heading off to North Carolina State for college, has played the Web.com Tour for the better part of the last four years.
He’s battled some injuries the last few years and sits 90th on the Web.com Tour’s season-long points race, but is looking forward to stringing a couple of solid results together over the next few weeks – particularly when the Tour heads to the West Coast – in order to slide back inside the top 75, or even into The 25.
He earned an exemption into the RBC Canadian Open on the PGA TOUR last week, but will be back in action this week on the Web.com Tour in Illinois at the Lincoln Land Championship presented by LRS.
But first, Choi spent a little time with PGA TOUR Digital chatting about growing up Canadian, his year so far and doing it for the city.
You’ve battled some injuries in years past, but seem to be doing well now. How are you feeling health-wise?
I feel healthy. I’m doing pretty good. I came off an off-week where I went home and the game feels like it’s in a good spot. I’ve played pretty well but I just don’t feel like I’m scoring. The good part is that everything feels good and it’s just a matter of keep doing the right things and the good results will come.
What’s your comfort level these days on the Web.com Tour? A lot of guys take time to get adjusted to professional golf, and the Web.com Tour has a long, busy season. But you’ve been out here for a few years now.
This is my fourth season out here. The comfort level is definitely there and obviously you never want to get too comfortable here because every golfer here, their main goal is to move up to the PGA TOUR, but as far as just playing on a professional tour and this tour especially, I do feel very comfortable. I know what I need to do, it’s just matter of going out and doing it.
Is there anything specifically you’re working on to try to get to the next level?
Just trying to change my mental approach a little bit. I’m trying not to live and die by every round. I’m just sticking to the process versus being results-oriented. It’s just about weekly progress and the question, ‘Am I getting better every day, every week?’ And I just think if I can continue to improve a little bit as I go along, it’s just a matter of time.
You live close to fellow Canadians Corey Conners in Florida, same with Adam Svensson – Web.com Tour alums and now PGA TOUR members, and with Conners, a PGA TOUR winner – does seeing their success inspire you?
For sure. Obviously they’ve put in the work and they’ve worked really hard to get everything they’ve had. For me, I’m really happy for them to be honest. They’re two of my closest friends and I just think it’s a motivating factor. It’s hard to not compare yourself to those around you, but I’m really happy for them and seeing them do well makes me want to well that much more. From a motivational standpoint, I want to get there and do the same thing.
Are there any golf courses or events you’re looking forward to through the end of the season?
To be honest I’m really looking forward to the back half of the season. There are a lot of courses coming up, especially when we get mid-west and west coast… I was born in Vancouver so I just love moving in that direction.
The Raptors are having quite the run through the playoffs right now and are on the brink of an NBA championship. Did you play basketball growing up in Toronto?
I did a little bit, middle school and junior high. Once I got past that age I started focusing on golf.
When did you know golf was going to be the thing you were going to make a career out of?
I’ve always thought, ever since I started playing, that’s what I wanted to do. I didn’t have any questions about it. I played other sports growing up because I just loved sports, but I knew golf was always going to be my thing.
Toronto’s dining scene is also world-class. Any favorites?
When I was at home I didn’t really leave my neighbourhood too much. I don’t get to see my family that often, so I didn’t branch out too far. But I know the food scene is good. Toronto is a city where you can get anything you’re looking for.
How do you feel the connection to Toronto?
Every time I go back home to Toronto, I feel like everyone is for everybody, especially when I was home recently. The Raptors were playing and everyone was friends with everyone. We were all cheering for the same team and the city. When the van attack happened (on April 23, 2018, a man in a rented van deliberately targeted pedestrians on the city’s busiest street, killing 10 and injuring 16 people)… I walked those streets every day. I went to school near there. A lot of my close friends still live there. To think somewhere so close to home, something so tragic could happen, it was really tough for me to hear. Even when I was home I was on the same street, and I do think about it still, every time I’m around there. It’s not the brightest of moments, but it’s something that will stick in my mind.
How excited are you for the Raptors right now?
Win or lose, I’ll always love Toronto no matter what. It’ll always be home. As a Toronto sports fan, we’ve been waiting a long time for this. The city has been through not the best times with sports for lack of a better term. I think Toronto fans really deserve this. It’ll be awesome to see them pull away. It’s always great to be a Toronto fan, but it’s pretty special right now.