Who Is Hosung Choi?

The viral sensation makes his PGA Tour debut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Who Is Hosung Choi

The viral sensation makes his PGA Tour debut at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am

Who Is Hosung Choi?

Hosung Choi rocketed to internet stardom last year when footage of his golf swing went viral on social media.

Around six months later similar footage once again went viral as he won his second Japan Golf Tour title at the Casio World Open.

Choi has a swing like no other, with one of the strangest, and funniest, follow-throughs imaginable.

Going back, Choi's swing looks pretty good and he's also solid at impact too, but it's after impact where he almost dances and spins in what appears to be him steering his ball to its target.

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The Korean revealed how his swing and crazy follow-through came about ahead of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and there's one real reason: to gain distance.

"With the advancement in technology and with how far these players are hitting it nowadays I needed to find my own unique way to get that extra distance," he said.

"And by hitting it hard and by swinging hard I was able to swing the way I do right now, so that might result in to how I'm swinging it."

Rory McIlroy questioned Choi's follow-through recently, saying that he's "not sure a golf shot should mean that much to you that you're doing that after you hit it, like it's just trying a little too hard. You have to try hard at golf, but that's taking it to an extreme."

However, Choi says that he "loves" his swing.

"I personally love my swing. I didn't start golf until I was in my late 20s, so technically I didn't take any lessons growing up. But regarding flexibility or anything like that, I might not have as much compared to the other Tour players, but I do what I can with what I have."

The 45-year-old's swing has certainly been working for him, with his current world ranking at a career-high of 194.

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His recent Casio World Open victory was against a strong field including 20-time Japan Golf Tour winner Yuta Ikeda, 2009 USPGA Champion YE Yang, world no.80 Shaun Norris and 2018 Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit winner Shugo Imahira, who makes his Masters debut in April after receiving an invite.

It's not just on his full swing either where he 'dances' post-impact, he also does it on his putts too.

Hosung Choi of Korea hits a putt during the Singapore Open. (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images)

As well as his very interesting swing, Hosung Choi has a very interesting story.

He only took up the game aged 27 after years as a fisherman, which is where he gets his 'fisherman' nickname from. During that time, half of his thumb got cut off and he had to take two years off, which led him to getting a part-time job at a golf club.

At that golf club, Choi was the man who did all sorts of jobs, from cleaning the locker rooms to stocking the vending machines and putting out cold towels in the summer.

He didn't even play golf at that point. It was only when his boss wanted the employees to start playing golf to better understand the members that he took up the game.

"In 1997 they opened up a new practice area for us and our manager told us that for any employee that works at the golf course you need to learn how to play golf so that you have the same mindset and know how the golfers feel when you're on the golf course," he said ahead of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

"So they let us practice there off-hours and they let all employees have playing privileges."

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Choi said that his swing was even wilder back in those days and now describes himself as more of a feel player.

And on the strength of his game? His mental toughness.

"I honestly haven't thought too much about it, but if there was a strength, I would think it is my mental game. I'm just not worrying about what other people say or do and just focusing on my own game would be my own strength."

Incredibly, from never picking up a club in 1997, Choi went on to win his maiden professional title 11 years later in 2008 at the Korean Tour Championship. That was the first of two Korean Tour wins after another victory in 2011.

He then won the Indonesian PGA Championship in 2013 before the biggest win of his career last year at the Casio World Open in Japan.

Choi has an incredible golf swing and an equally-incredible story, but he is clearly a very gifted player.

At 194th in the world, he currently ranks just above some recent winners and big names on the European Tour, like last year's European Open champion Richard McEvoy, Mauritius Open champion Kurt Kitayama, Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington, Bernd Weisberger, Hideto Tanihara and Graeme McDowell.

This week at Pebble marks a huge opportunity for him, with a chance to pick up some serious world ranking points and money with a good finish, and a good finish would, you'd think, get him some invites into other big tournaments.

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Elliott Heath is our Senior Staff Writer and has been with Golf Monthly since early 2016. He graduated in Sports Journalism in 2016 and currently manages the Golf Monthly news, courses and travel sections as well as our large Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Elliott has interviewed some huge names in the golf world including Sergio Garcia, Thomas Bjorn, Bernd Wiesberger and Scotty Cameron as well as a number of professionals on the DP World and PGA Tours. He has also covered the 2022 Masters from Augusta National as well as three Open Championships including at Carnoustie in 2018 when he was inside the ropes with Tiger Woods. He has played 31 of our Top 100 golf courses, with his favourites being both Sunningdales, Woodhall Spa, Old Head and Alwoodley. He currently plays at West Byfleet Golf Club in Surrey, where his handicap index floats anywhere between 4-6. His golfing highlight is making albatross on the 9th hole on the Hotchkin Course at Woodhall Spa, and he has made one hole-in-one.


Elliott is currently playing:


Driver: Honma TR20

3 wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max

2 iron: Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi

Irons: Mizuno MP5 4-PW

Wedges: Cleveland RTX ZipCore 50, 54, 58

Putter: Odyssey White Hot OG #5

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x