The tournament sponsors at one early-season event are finally giving the people what they want. Korean golf sensation Hosung Choi will make his PGA Tour debut this February.
The venue for Choi’s maiden Tour competition is none other than iconic Pebble Beach Golf Links and the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, according to a report on Chosun.com. The tournament extended the Japan Golf Tour pro a sponsor’s exemption to play in the popular Tour event. Choi has no official PGA Tour status and is ranked No. 198 in the world, so he can’t compete on the American tour without an exemption.
“I never imagined this day would come,” Choi told Chosun.com upon hearing the news. “I took up golf at the age of 25, after a hard life. I’m fully aware that none of this would be possible without the love and support of my fans. I will of course do my best, wherever I go.”
Choi won over golf fans and became a viral star in 2018 thanks to his truly bizarre swing and follow-through, as well as his outsized personality on and off the course. But Choi isn’t all style, there’s plenty of substance to his game too. The 45-year-old won the Japan Golf Tour’s Casio World Open in November.
“I lived year after year in a struggle,” Choi told GOLF.com after his win. “But I had the desperate and urgent mindset that golf was all I had. I think that is what made me.”
Last month, a PGA professional started an online petition demanding that Choi get a sponsor’s exemption into the Waste Management Phoenix Open. While that exemption has yet to materialize, fans will get to see the Korean star on Tour in February after all.
The 2019 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am kicks off February 4 and is played across three historic golf courses on the Monterey Peninsula: Spyglass Hill, Monterey Peninsula Country Club’s Shore Course, and Pebble Beach Golf Links which hosts the final round.
This won’t be the last time we see the best golfers in this corner of the world this year. They will return to Pebble Beach in June for the 2019 U.S. Open.
But if Choi wants to come back for that one, he’ll need a lot more than a sponsor’s exemption.