Choi's 'been practicing hard' for second PGA TOUR start
July 09, 2019
By Cameron Morfit, PGATOUR.COM
Ho Sung Choi on making his second PGA TOUR start at John Deere
SILVIS, Ill. – John Deere Classic fans have never experienced a sponsor's exemption quite like Ho Sung Choi, the internet sensation with the funky “fisherman” swing.
But has Choi ever experienced a John Deere tractor?
“I haven't had the opportunity to drive one,” Choi said through a translator in his press conference at TPC Deere Run on Tuesday. “But I saw a lot of it set up near the entryway, so I took a lot of pictures. I got to sit in the tractor, and it reminded me of something from the movie ‘Transformers.’
“I thought it was so cool, and it was really interesting for me,” he added, “so I took a lot of pictures. I was trying to drive it, but there were no keys available, so I just sat in the seat.”
This week will mark the second PGA TOUR start for Choi, who shot 72-75-77 to miss the cut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this season. He will also tee it up at the Barracuda Championship in Reno later this summer. He says he’s been practicing hard for his second-ever trip to the United States, and is encouraged to be getting closer the best season for his golf: fall.
The son of a fisherman father and a free-diver mother, Choi grew up in Pohang, a port city in South Korea. A thumb injury made him ineligible for military service, and he wound up working part-time at Anyang Golf Club, where part of the job meant learning how to play the game himself.
Using golf magazines and trial and error, Choi improved quickly and turned pro a few years later. He won several times on the Korean Tour, once on the Japan Tour, and cracked the top 200 in the world with a victory at the 2018 Casio World Open. He was 45, and becoming a cult favorite among fans.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was among his celebrity fans and asked to be paired with him at Pebble Beach. They hit it off, and became, as Golf Digest put it, “the most adorable sports bromance on the planet.”
Much of the buzz has been about Choi’s swing, which he calls “fun,” so it has not gone unnoticed that Matthew Wolff, another pro with an unconventional action, just won the 3M Open, an inaugural event on the TOUR.
“Matthew actually hit behind me on the range yesterday,” Choi said, “and I got to meet him on the range, and I was most impressed with his rhythm. I thought his rhythm with the golf swing was just amazing, and he was so powerful with his swing and he could just send the ball so far. So, I was very impressed, and I thought he had a beautiful swing.”
As for his goals this week, he said it was windier than he expected in a practice round, and getting up and down from around the greens wasn’t easy.
“I just want to make the cut and see where it goes from there,” he said.
And maybe, just maybe, get a ride on one of those tractors.