Interest in golf grew after one of his high school teachers recommended he try the sport. Began studying Jack Nicklaus lesson books and videos and spent long hours hitting practice balls on his island home's only practice range. First Korean to earn a PGA TOUR card.
Grew up the son of a farmer/fisherman and as a teenage powerlifter earned the nickname "Tank" because he could squat 350 pounds although he weighed a mere 95 pounds. He didn't have the upper-body strength to pursue that sport, so he turned to golf, at age 16.
After his 2005 victory at the Wyndham Championship, donated $90,000 to the Korean Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, N.C., that he has attended each year he played the tournament.
Following his win at the 2011 PLAYERS Championship, donated $200,000 to help victims of the tornadoes that ravaged the southeastern United States in April of that year.
Through the K.J. Choi Foundation (kjchoifoundation.org), donated his $100,000 winnings from the 2013 ISPS Handa World Cup to help with the Typhoon Haiyan relief efforts in the Philippines. The funds, sent to the American Red Cross in conjunction with the Philippines' chapter of the Red Cross, were used to provide relief supplies to the areas worst hit by the typhoon.