Newspaper article International New York Times

Presidents Cup in South Korea May Be Missing Native Sons

Newspaper article International New York Times

Presidents Cup in South Korea May Be Missing Native Sons

Article excerpt

The Presidents Cup will be held in Asia for the first time later this year when it is held in Incheon, South Korea, but based on the current rankings, no South Korean would take part.

The golf calendar is stuffed fuller than a pro-am goody bag, with 43 PGA Tour events, including the four majors, plus the FedEx Cup playoffs.

But in South Korea, there is no bigger event in golf than the Presidents Cup in October.

"How many days are we out, T-minus 220 or something?" Mike Kim, one of the tournament directors, asked Tuesday.

He was close: 233 days. Incheon will host the biennial competition, which is taking place for the first time in Asia, from Oct. 8 to 11.

Two days before the start of the Northern Trust Open, Kim appeared at Riviera Country Club with the South Korean-born K. J. Choi, an eight-time winner on the PGA Tour who will serve as an assistant captain for the International team, and Kevin Na, the Korean-born American who aspires to play for the United States team, to talk about the competition. They were joined by Kyung-Mi Kim, a member of the Incheon task force entrusted with organizing the event.

The task force's Kim described the Presidents Cup as "equivalent to the Olympics" and said that to have an event of such a magnitude in their backyard is "an opportunity to ignite the interest level" in the sport among young South Koreans.

"It makes it come much closer to your heart," she said through a translator.

The teams will not be completed for seven months. Based on this week's rankings, no South Koreans would earn one of the 10 automatic spots, which raises the question: Does the success of the event in its Asian debut depend on a native son playing in it?

Choi said it did not matter. Speaking through a translator, he explained, "The fact that the Presidents Cup is going to Korea is giving an opportunity and motivation to those junior golfers that are up-and-coming. …

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