Charlie Wi joined an exclusive millionaires club in 2009, by topping USD 1 million in earnings on the US Tour for the third season in a row. Not many players show that level of consistency on the ultra-competive American circuit, but Wi insists money will never top the sheer pleasure of winning.

The Korean ace should know. He has reeled off seven victories during his professional career, all of them on the Asian Tour where he was runner-up to Royal Trophy teammate Thongchai Jaidee in the Order of Merit after winning three times in 2001.

But since basing himself in the United States five years ago Wi has finished runner-up three times – but is still waiting for his eagerly-anticipated breakthrough by claming his maiden victory in America.

Even though everyone accepts the US Tour is the hardest circuit to win on, Wi has still found that experience frustrating, which is another reason why he so highly relished being part of the victorious Asian Team at the 2009 Royal Trophy. He explained: “A win feels very good, and when you have had a few near-misses it feels even better to be able to punch the air and enjoy the acclaim from the spectators.

“Second places bring you big cheques and a certain satisfaction in knowing you have finished ahead of some of the best players in the game. But it always leaves you wanting more, which is a good thing. If you are not hungry and prepared to push yourself the extra mile, you are soon going to get left behind.

“Having enjoyed a lot of success in Asia, winning in the PGA Tour is something I am determined to accomplish as well. Making a contribution to our Asian Continent’s win earlier this year did a lot for my confidence. It was an unbelievable feeling to prevail over the Europeans in Thailand.

“The third edition of the Royal Trophy was really a great Event. We bonded very well as a Team, and that showed in the way we played. I can’t wait to come back and try to secure a second consecutive victory for Asia.”

Wi formed an impressive partnership with Liang Wen-chong in the 2009 Royal Trophy. They linked up for crucial wins in both the foursomes and four-balls, and seem certain to be re-united this time.

The Korean golfer has always been a versatile performer, hopping on flights to play all over the world. His worldwide odyssey actually began at the age of 10, when his family moved from Seoul to live in Los Angeles. That proved the springboard for a sparkling amateur career in the USA.

He won the prestigious Pac-10 title in 1995, and earned all-American honours after finishing with the third best stroke average in the country – behind two men who also went on to become successful professionals. The men who finished ahead of him were Stewart Cink – the current British Open champion – and a Stanford ‘freshman’ named Tiger Woods! It was clearly a vintage year, and after graduating Wi returned to Asia to learn his trade in the professional ranks.

He won his first professional title, the Kuala Lumpur Open, in 1997, and returned to Malaysia nine years later to record his biggest win so far – the European and Asian Tour co-sanctioned 2006 Malaysian Open.

Wi has set his sights on a second consecutive Royal Trophy triumph to kick start 2010, followed by that elusive first win on the US Tour. Certainly, defeating the European masters of team match play golf under the leadership of the legendary eight-time European Tour Order of Merit champion and present Royal Trophy and Ryder Cup Captain Colin Montgomerie in a Ryder Cup year would give Wi the greatest confidence boost.

“Charlie Wi made a sound contribution to the Asian Team in the third edition of the Royal Trophy and we are looking forward to welcoming him back to the Competition;” stated Lincoln Venancio, Managing Director of the Royal Trophy.

“It is great to witness a player that competes full-time in the United States coming back to Asia to wear the Asian colours and represent the Asian people so enthusiastically;” concluded Lincoln Venancio.

The fourth edition of the Royal Trophy will take place on 8-10 January 2010 at the exclusive Amata Spring Country Club in Chonburi, Thailand. The Championship will feature a series of sixteen matches including the foursomes, four-ball and singles formats. The Principal Award for the winning Continent is stewardship of the perpetual solid-silver sixteen-kilogram Trophy, graciously donated by the world’s longest reigning Monarch – His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand. The Royal Trophy is organized in Thailand by the Sports Authority of Thailand and Entertainment and Sports Co., Ltd. The Championship is promoted internationally by Entertainment Group Limited.

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