Hosung Choi and his unconventional swing leave Pebble Beach after earning respect
Hosung Choi’s weeklong parade around Monterey Peninsula finished in bitter rain Saturday at Pebble Beach, the conclusion accompanied by a missed cut in the Crosby Clambake known officially as the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Yet the 45-year-old from a small fishing village in South Korea, who took up golf when he was 25, couldn’t stop smiling as the waves crashed the craggy coastline. He had won the lottery, after all, and his first trip to American soil and his first start on the PGA Tour left a lasting impression not only for Choi but for those entertained by his affable personality, showmanship and outrageous follow-throughs full of twists and turns that have made him an internet sensation.
On the scenic stages of Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula’s Shore Course, Choi was the biggest star in a tournament filled with celebrities and some of the game’s best players, his festive galleries larger than those following Bill Murray, Wayne Gretzky, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth.
“I definitely felt the love from my fans,” Choi said through an interpreter.
Choi returned the love. He acknowledged most every shout out from his followers, many coming in his native tongue. He signed tons of autographs and posed for hundreds of selfies. He was Mickelson without flashing the thumbs up.
Playing on a sponsor’s exemption, he showed his appreciation by plunking down his own cash to buy clothing featuring the tournament logo and wore his new duds through 54 holes. He literally ran to the media center for his pre-tournament presser to make sure he wasn’t late.
And Saturday he gave each of his playing partners – actor Chris O’Donnell, his teammate, and pro Jerry Kelly and his teammate, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers – one of his clubhead covers that feature a silhouette of his one-legged follow-through.“They were such great people,” Choi said. “And even when I had a bad shot or was struggling, they encouraged me, and they gave me words of advice out there. And I tried to give them a gift to remind them of me.”
Choi, Rodgers said, was the gift that kept on giving.
“We had him over to the house, him and his family. We had a blast,” Rodgers said. “There’s obviously some loss in translation with the language barrier, but we had his translator there, and we just had a blast. He’s a great guy. I think it’s great for the tournament and for golf. Obviously, his swing gets a lot of attention, but he’s a good player. It was a lot of fun to play with him.”
https://i2.wp.com/essexccvt.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/2018-09-11_1142.png?fit=500%2C300&ssl=1 300 500 Teesnap Developer https://essexccvt.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/logo.png Teesnap Developer2019-02-13 10:47:222019-02-11 17:50:26An unconventional swing embraced at Pebble Beach