In solid wire-to-wire fashion, K.J. Choi won the Sony Open in Hawaii, his seventh PGA Tour title. The Sony Open doesn’t have the toughest field, but a Tour win is a Tour win. These guys are good, after all.
Choi is winning with more regularity, and his name now pops up as a potential major winner. Jack Nicklaus said keep an eye on K.J. after Choi won Jack’s Memorial tournament last May. Then Choi won again at Tiger’s tournament, the AT&T National in July, completing the Jack-Tiger Slam.
Even before Choi went the distance and won at Waialae Country Club on Sunday, major talk was a part of his Sony press conferences.
Was winning a major one of his goals? Yes, it was.
Why not? Choi seems to have the game for the majors, especially on tough U.S. Open setups. His short game is quite strong. Moreover, K.J. appears to have the resiliency and resolve needed to survive the sterner tests in golf.
Last year Choi finished in a tie for eighth at the British Open at Carnoustie, a good showing. He has four top tens in majors, including a third at the 2004 Masters. Choi's Sony win lifts him two spots to No. 7 in the world ranking.
But here’s the thing. While many players who win multiple times on Tour set a goal to win a major, few actually do.
Choi deserves consideration but isn’t in the can’t-miss category (if there is such a thing) reserved for players such as Sergio Garcia and Phil Mickelson (before he finally won at the Masters).
I’d love to see K.J. win a major -- he would be a popular champion -- but I’m not at all certain about his chances. He’s just one of many awaiting his turn. And there aren’t many turns.
The Armchair Golfer