Washington - South Korean golfer Choi Ho-sung, who has developed a social media
cult following for his "Fisherman Swing", plays only his second PGA
event at this week's John Deere Classic.
The 45-year-old is playing in the final US tuneup event for next
week's Open on a sponsor's exemption after missing the cut in
his American debut at Pebble Beach in February.
"I'm so thankful to be playing here," Choi said. "I can't thank the
tournament enough and I can't wait to show my fun swing to everybody in
Choi, whose unique step-over follow through has attracted YouTube
fans worldwide, won the Japan Tour's Casio World Open last November and
took the 2013 Indonesia PGA Championship.
"I just want to make the cut and see where it goes from there," Choi said.
Choi grew up in Pohang, the son of a fisherman father and free-diver
mother who was ineligible for military service due to a thumb injury and
turned to golf after getting a job at a course, using golf magazines
and years of work to develop his own unique style with the clubs.
"I personally love my swing," Choi said. "It's a swing that I've come
up with on my own for a long time, and it's a swing that has worked for
me, so I personally have no issues with my swing, and I plan to use it
Among Choi's fans is Green Bay Packers' Super Bowl champion
quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who was paired with Choi at the Pebble Beach
"I couldn't really put into words all the support I received at
Pebble Beach," Choi said. "It was my first experience in the US and for
fans to just swarm around me and to be at every hole, it has just been
so overwhelming. I'm just so incredibly thankful to all the fans that
showed their love for me. That was a really special moment for me."
The par-71 TPC Deere Run layout at Silvis, Illinois, will test Choi this week.
"The course is so beautiful," he said. "But I noticed if I missed the
greens, it was really tough to get up-and-down, so that will be
something that I'll be working on this week."
Choi, who also plans to play in Reno in two weeks, had never seen one of the sponsor's signature tractors until this week.
"I haven't had the opportunity to drive one, but I saw a lot of it
set up near the entryway, so I took a lot of pictures," Choi said.
"I got to sit in the tractor, and it reminded me of something from the movie 'Transformers'. It was so cool."
Choi could transform himself into a British Open qualifier this week
as the best top-five finisher not already qualified for Royal Portrush
will earn a spot in next week's field in the year's final major
A plane will fly the qualifiers from the Quad Cities area to Europe for the event after Sunday's final round.