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February 5, 2019

Ho Sung Choi

Pebble Beach, California

SHARON SHIN: Before we begin, just a quick note to our media members. With Ho Sung not being fluent in English, I will be moderating and translating the whole press conference. If we have any Korean media members onsite, please feel free to ask the questions in Korean.

I would like to welcome Ho Sung Choi into the interview room at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Ho Sung will be making his PGA TOUR debut this week with a sponsor exemption. So with that if we could get some opening comments about how excited you are to be making your PGA TOUR debut here in Pebble Beach.

HO SUNG CHOI: It is my first time here in the United States, so I can't even put into words how incredibly happy and grateful I am to have this opportunity here.

SHARON SHIN: We'll open it up to questions right away.

Q. Could you speak about your swing mechanics, if you understand them or whatever.
HO SUNG CHOI: 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. And also 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. 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.

Q. When you started out this late in life, at first did you try and pattern your swing after anyone? And did you have a favorite golfer?
HO SUNG CHOI: I don't think I can pinpoint one specific player, but I honestly respect every player that's made it on TOUR. Just being here with them this week has been such an honor for me and I do appreciate how they have talked about my swing while I'm here.

Q. Some players might feel pressured to conform and have a more classic follow through. Why don't you feel the pressure to do that?
HO SUNG CHOI: I've had my humble beginnings when I started and I feel like I'm more of a feel player compared to technique or anything like that. Just like how everyone looks different, I feel like there are a different variety of ways of swinging the golf club. And some people might be more flexible, some people might be stronger than others, and I think that's what makes golf so much fun. And I think that's what leads to a variety of swings out on the TOUR.

Q. Do you care what people think? And if people don't like it, do you care?
HO SUNG CHOI: I haven't really thought about it. My only goal is to give if my all and to play my best when I'm on the golf course, so I don't really think about that very much.

Q. What are your first impressions of Pebble Beach, and what have been your favorite parts about visiting California?
HO SUNG CHOI: I have the honor to play all three courses here and just because of such beautiful scenery, I couldn't even focus on where my ball was going. So just looking at the ocean and looking at all the scenery out here has been amazing and that's been my favorite part.

Q. What took you so long to start playing golf? Why did you start playing golf? And what did you like about it?
HO SUNG CHOI: It's a bit of a long story. But to put it shortly, I went to a high school that specialized in jobs for the fishing industry and I had my thumb cut off in a chain saw accident and you can see my right thumb is shorter than my left. And for about two years I couldn't do anything. And then afterwards I was able to get a part-time job at a golf course and that's how I started my golfing career.

Q. (No Microphone.)
HO SUNG CHOI: So my part-time job at a golf course included anything from whatever they needed me to do, from cleaning lock rooms to stocking vending machines, to taking the coins out of the vending machines. On hot summer days I would be the one responsible for putting the cold ice towels inside the locker, inside the ice boxes for the players. So I honestly did whatever they needed me to.

Q. What did you like about the game that kept you playing?
HO SUNG CHOI: So I started the part-time job in 1995. And 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. So they let us practice there off-hours and they let all employees have playing privileges.

Q. Did you play with a normal swing in the beginning? How much do you know about the Rules of Golf when moving your body? Do you pay attention to the rules?
HO SUNG CHOI: In the beginning I was actually, I actually had a wilder swing and I swing like this (Indicating). In the beginning, like you saw, I actually had a wilder swing and without being able to see a swing on camera, I had to use the mirror and kind of improved a little better by bit by bit. But without the flexibility, I was able to adjust my swing and that's how I have the swing I have now. And the reason for my bigger fore swing is to get that extra yardage and that's how I have the swing I have now.

Q. Do you know who Green Bay Packer quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, is?
HO SUNG CHOI: From what I know, I know that he is the greatest football player in the U.S. and I'm honored to think, or I'm honored that he said that he wanted to play golf with me.

Q. As a follow up, this pro-am format can be very much a stage for entertainers. Are you comfortable like entertaining?
HO SUNG CHOI: I know sometimes after I've hit the ball I sometimes will the ball to go in the hole and in my mind I feel like that helps the ball go in the hole, so I'm going to keep doing that this week. And I feel like in my mind the way I move my body, sometimes it feels like have I remote control that wills the ball to go in the hole, so I'm going to keep doing that, because I feel like it helps.

Q. Beyond your unique driving style, you've won golf tournaments. Could you assess your game strengths and weaknesses?
HO SUNG CHOI: 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.

Q. Have you ever made a hole-in-one and if so how did you react?
HO SUNG CHOI: Yeah, I actually had a hole-in-one at the 2014 Casio World Open. That was actually a tournament that I won. It was on the 8th hole and it was about 230 yards with my 5-wood. And when I hit it I had no idea that it went in the hole, but when I walked towards the green, the people there were screaming, so I realized it went in. I picked up the ball and threw it towards the fan.

SHARON SHIN: All right. Thanks so much for your time, Ho Sung, and good luck this week.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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