Published: Thursday October 13, 2011 MYT 4:38:00 PM
Future is bright for Asian players - Choi
Oct 13 (Reuters) - South Korea's K.J. Choi expects the number of Asians in the world's top 200 to double over the next 10 years as the region's youngsters enjoy an increase in international exposure. "The Asian region is viewed by many to have the most potential for growth in the game of golf," the world number 15 said in a statement on Thursday. "Asian players have grown so much in the past 10 years and compete shoulder to shoulder on the world stage week-in and out. The positive is that this is only the beginning.
"Through the opportunity and experience of playing in international tournaments from such a young age, Asian players are increasingly adapting to new environments and expanding their skill level.
"I think that number (Asians in the top 200 of the world rankings) will double in the next 10 years, with more players higher up in the top 100."
Twenty Asians currently feature in the top 200 and Choi, a rice-farmer's son who battled through the ranks to establish himself as a prominent golfer on the U.S. PGA Tour, said competing around the globe was key to any player's development.
"Playing outside of Korea and on the Asian Tour provided me with the experience and know-how of adapting to different weather, course conditions, food, culture, language, travel logistics and time zones," Choi added.
"Getting accustomed to these elements is so important to become a global player."
The 41-year-old eight-time PGA Tour winner is hosting an Asian Tour event on home soil next week, putting Choi in an elite group including Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Tiger Woods as players with their own tournaments.