PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The weeklong parade of Hosung Choi around the Monterey Peninsula was completed under a bitter rain Saturday at Pebble Beach, this finding being accompanied by a missed cut in the Crosby Clambake, officially designated by the Pro-Am AT & T Pebble Beach.
Yet, aged 45 and originally from a small fishing village in South Korea, who had started playing golf at the age of 25, he could not help but smile when he the waves crashed on the steep coast. After all, he had won the lottery and his first trip to American soil and his first start on the PGA Tour left a lasting impression not only for Choi, but also for those who his affable personality, his showmanship and his scandalous follow-ups sparked. and turns that made him an internet sensation.
On the quaint scenes of Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and the Monterey Peninsula Shore Course, Choi was the biggest star of a tournament filled with celebrities and some of the best players in the game. Her festive galleries are larger than those following Bill Murray, Wayne Gretzky, Phil Mickelson. and Jordan Spieth.
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"I really felt the love of my fans," said Choi through an interpreter.
Choi returned the love. He recognized most of the cries of his followers, many of whom came in his native tongue. He signed tons of autographs and posed for hundreds of selfies. He was Mickelson without lifting his thumbs.
Playing on the exemption of a sponsor, he showed his appreciation by spending his money to buy clothes bearing the logo of the tournament and carried his new shots through 54 holes. He literally went to the media center to get his bail before the tournament to make sure he was not late.
And on Saturday, he entrusted to each of his gaming partners – the actor Chris O Donnell, his teammate and pro Jerry Kelly and teammate Aaron Rodgers quarterback Green Bay Packers – l & # 39; one of his club covers wearing a silhouette of his one-legged follower.
"They were really great people," said Choi. "And even when I had a bad shot or I struggled, they encouraged me and they gave me advice.And I tried to give them a gift for me." remember me. "
Choi, said Rodgers, was the gift that kept on doing.
"We brought him and his family home, we had a blast," Rodgers said. "There is obviously a loss of translation with the language barrier, but we had his interpreter here and we had a lot of fun, he's a great guy, I think it's great for the tournament. and for golf, obviously, his momentum is very careful, but he's a good player and it was very fun to play with him. "
While the record will show that he missed the cut by 11 shots after 72-75-77 rounds, Choi did not get out of his element in a week full of elements including hail, showers and rain. freezing temperatures. The four-time winner of the Japanese and Korean tours was baffled by the Poa Annua greens, but was far from a game of chance as he impressed Kelly, who has six wins on the PGA Tour and PGA Tour champions.
"I really like the action," Kelly said. "It made me want to put my leg in just a little bit and see if I can get a little extra, his impact fundamentals are damn good, and he can change it and roll it." So, there is no reason why he can not compete. "
Sunday night, Choi left for Guam for a photo shoot and does not know when he will play. While he was disappointed with his game on the Monterey Peninsula, Choi was far from being downcast on his future and said he hoped to receive more invitations to play on the circuit. of the PGA.
"If I have the chance to get another invitation, I will be happy to participate in any other tournament," said Choi. "I learned a lot from this experience.
"I will continue to dream."