07 February, 2019: Ho Sung Choi’s fascinating backstory of a fisherman-turned-professional golfer may already be familiar to those in South Korea, but American fans and media are only just now getting their first look at the Asian internet star and his unusual golf swing.
Choi will make his PGA TOUR debut this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, best known for the high-profile celebrities that comprise half the field. But it was the 45-year-old Korean who stole the show Tuesday, as he spent more than 20 minutes captivating the American media during a unique press conference in which he chronicled his life story and broke down his unique golf swing.
“Everything here is fascinating for me because it’s my first time here experiencing everything,” Choi said prior to meeting the U.S. media. “The size of the venue, even where we’re sitting (in the media center), it’s just enormous. Everything is just on a larger scale. Everything is so huge compared to what I’m used to.”
Choi began his day with a practice round at Pebble Beach Golf Links and later followed up his press conference with a half-hour video interview for the PGA TOUR, set in front of the stunning backdrop of the Pebble Beach Coastal Overlook. His first round is set for Thursday at 9:17 a.m. local time, at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club. He’ll play alongside Jerry Kelly, actor Chris O’Donnell and N.F.L. quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“It’s incredibly gorgeous outside,” Choi said. “What I was most fascinated about was the weather changed at least 10 times in a day. It was so surprising to see so many weather changes in one day.
“I’ve played on golf courses all over the world,” he continued. “But I don’t think any course beats the views that you have here. When I got here I played Monterrey and Spyglass. While playing out on the course, all I could see was all the scenery. I was so distracted by the beautiful scenery out here.”
Choi actually arrived in the United States last week, when he was joined by his wife, Jina Wang, and sons, Seohyun and Seoho. Their first meal was at In-N-Out Burger, a popular American fast food restaurant.
“What surprised me was obviously it was delicious, but the size, the portion, and the whole tray it came out on was so big,” Choi said, laughing. “It’s so different from what I’m used to in Korea.”
The family followed up the meal with time in Hollywood, and a nine-hour trip to the Universal Studios theme park.
“My life and my kids were loving it,” Choi recalled. “The rides that stand out to me the most were The Simpsons ride and Transformers. Just putting on the goggles and seeing everything in (3D) was really special for me.”
Soon after, the family made the seven-hour drive from Irvine to Monterrey, with Choi behind the driving wheel. He remarked at how much bigger the roads and cars in the United States were, and the array of animals they family spotted during the trip.
But it wasn’t all easy.
“We actually took a wrong turn and we were by this huge cliff,” Choi said. “I was thinking this whole time, ‘if I take one wrong turn I could fall off this cliff!’ Things like that stand out to me.”
Choi will have plenty more memories to make over his next week at Pebble Beach, where fans and PGA TOUR players alike are anxious to see him play.
“There were a few players that approached me during the practice round,” Choi said. “We shook hands, said hello and took pictures together. Everyone has been so kind to me, so I’m so grateful for all the support I’ve been getting here.”
Source – PGA Tour