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Rory McIlroy questions the merit of internet sensation Hosung Choi’s Pebble Beach invite



Rory McIlroy’s frankness has at times rubbed people the wrong way, but a large portion of golf fans appreciate his openness and honesty when speaking to the media, and for those fans at least, McIlroy obliged once again this week while discussing the internet sensation Hosung Choi.

Choi, who has become a cult hero in the golfing world for his unusual behavior on the course, will make his first ever start on the PGA Tour at next month’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at the age of 45. Though the majority of golf fans were thrilled when the news broke and are excited to see him in action stateside, McIlroy, while speaking before this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, questioned whether the viral star deserved his place in the field.

“Whether he should be taking a spot away from a PGA Tour player at a PGA Tour event, I’m not so sure.”

The Irishman’s statement is surprising since the South Korean tasted victory on the Japan Golf Tour back in November and has risen over 300 places in the Official World Golf Ranking in just 12 months, to a career-high position of 193rd in the world. But while McIlroy appears skeptical over the merit of Choi’s invite, he revealed his positive take on the 45-year-old’s swing.

 “I mean, technically his swing is good. If you watch it up until impact, he’s technically got a pretty good swing. He’s obviously a pretty good player.”

Concerning Choi’s antics following making impact with the ball, while the majority of golf fans find Choi’s reactions both fascinating and hilarious, McIlroy believes that the South Korean may be trying a little too hard.

“I’m 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.”

Rory McIlroy is playing this week’s Farmers Insurance Open for the first time and tees it up in today’s opening round alongside Rickie Fowler and Adam Scott on Torrey Pines’ South Course.

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Gianni is a freelance writer. He holds a Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma in Sports Journalism. He can be contacted at Follow him on Twitter @giancarlomag



  1. Lovejoy

    Jan 27, 2019 at 8:58 am

    McIlroy is a fool with no authority to question sponsor’s invites and if he’s so concerned about players lacking merit taking tournament spots why doesn’t he go to the Tour and ask for all exemptions to be cancelled and restoration of qualifying rounds?

  2. Nathan

    Jan 26, 2019 at 5:25 am

    Did Rory get sponsor invites when he was starting out ?? I haven’t looked into it –
    but I’m sure he would of.

  3. Liberty Apples

    Jan 25, 2019 at 11:10 pm

    When Rory puts up the $7.6 million, he can decide who’s in the field. Until then, zip it.

  4. ND Hickman

    Jan 25, 2019 at 2:24 pm

    I’m inclined to agree. It feels like Choi (entertaining as he is) is being given the spot in place of someone potentially more deserving.

    • TZ

      Jan 27, 2019 at 9:33 am

      Deserve has nothing to do with it!

      • ND Hickman

        Jan 28, 2019 at 3:25 am

        Cool so why not invite more ladies to play in men’s events?

  5. Jose Pinatas

    Jan 25, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    This is good for the game, and will get more people to pay attention. No different than giving sponsor exemptions to Steph Curry, Michelle Wie, or any other well liked/popular person. Rory can say what he wants when a reporter asks a question, it’s his opinion and we should leave it at that.

  6. FritoBandito

    Jan 25, 2019 at 12:18 pm

    The dude has won as much the past year or so as McIlroy. I question Rory’s merits since the new drug testing policy.

  7. ht

    Jan 25, 2019 at 11:04 am

    I don’t dislike Rory, but it seems like he’s been salty over the past 1-2 years for the sake of being salty. This is the kind of thing that gets people to tune in and it’s the reason sponsors are given exemptions.

  8. TonyK

    Jan 24, 2019 at 7:37 pm

    Choi partially lost his right-hand thumb when he was 20 years old while he was working in the fishing industry (hence the “fisherman’s” swing). After working as a driving range attendant, he started playing golf at the age of 25. Became the pro at 27 in just 15 months. You may not like his swing, but how could anyone not love his story?

  9. Eric Vallee

    Jan 24, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    Sponsors exemptions are common place. Selling tickets is the whole point of them. This happens almost every week. This guy just happens to be outlandish.

  10. NA NA

    Jan 24, 2019 at 12:57 pm


  11. Tay

    Jan 24, 2019 at 11:23 am

    They should give Choi an exemption into an event where Rory is playing and pair them together for the first two rounds!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Shallowface

    Jan 24, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Choi will actually sell some tickets, unlike most of the players playing today. Drawing money, eyeballs and putting people in seats is the only thing that matters in the entertainment business, of which professional golf is a very small part.
    Professional entertainers, no matter the variety, need to remember that the ONLY reason they get to do that which they do is because someone wants to watch it. Professional golfers historically are among the most forgetful of this most basic of principles.

    • Dave

      Jan 24, 2019 at 10:38 am

      I think you are spot on but I also think that Rory has a legit point. He is taking the place of someone “more” deserving. I, for one, am pretty excited to watch Choi play. From an entertainment standpoint, this will be awesome. If Choi makes the cut, the weekend will be awesome. Maybe even pair him with Rory!

      • 1 iron

        Jan 24, 2019 at 9:57 pm

        What’s the matter Rory., you afraid he may take away your thunder

      • MhtLion

        Jan 25, 2019 at 2:20 pm

        I think we can also say whoever sells more tickets and earns more viewing is more deserving. Shallowface is spot on. This is an entertainment industry, not academic.

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Morning 9: Beyond “nice guy Stricker” | McIlroy to skip Irish Open | Opinion: Romo shouldn’t accept sponsor’s exemption



By Ben Alberstadt (

February 21, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.
1. More than just a nice guy
Steve Stricker is a fiery competitor and tactician who has the allegiance and respect of his players. So says Steve Dimeglio regarding the now-official 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
  • “On the surface, Stricker could be mistaken as being a softy, a man without a temper and one who is reluctant to put up a fight. That would be a mistake.”
  • “Well, everyone knows he’s such a nice guy, but beneath all of that exterior is this fieriness and this competitiveness,” Tiger Woods said Wednesday at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
  • “In other words, Stricker is as tough as he is nice, a nice combo that U.S. players can lean on in the 2020 Ryder Cup. On Wednesday Stricker, 51, was officially named the U.S. captain for Ryder Cup matches to be played in his home state of Wisconsin at Whistling Straits.”
2. He has their backs
Interesting tidbit from Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard on one Patrick Reed.
  • “Stricker, who was named the 2020 U.S. Ryder Cup captain, said he’s already spoken with Patrick Reed about last year’s matches and that he doesn’t expect the American’s inflammatory comments following last year’s matches to be an issue in 2020.”
  • “As far as he’s concerned, and I am, too, it’s been handled,” Stricker said. “He’s apologized and spoke to the players. He spoke to me and I kind of asked him what to expect from him. He’s like, ‘You know what, I’ve got your guys’ back. I’m there for the team.'”
3. The inside scoop
An interesting story in particular, yes, but the general takeaway–PGA Tour pros sometimes settle on gamers in extremely atypical ways–is just as cool.
  • Our Ryan Barath talked with Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer, Chris Voshall, about the MP-32 irons Danny Lee was spotted with at the Genesis Open.
  • “We recently spotted Danny Lee at the Genesis Open and it started a LOT of discussion about classic designs, as well as whether these are new old stock (NOS) or new forgings, using the original tooling.”
  • “I reached out to Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer Chris Voshall to get to the bottom of this interesting iron development. (Plus the idea that Mizuno has sets of 10-plus year-old irons kicking around ready for custom builds – I have a huge smile thinking about what that storage room might look like – is a pretty fun thought).”
  • “Heres the inside scoop on Danny’s irons from Chris Voshall…”The MP-32s being played by Danny Lee are a new old stock set that came from Luke Donald’s personal stash inside the tour van. The ones Danny is playing are the very last set of custom grind 32s that were made for Luke.”
4. Tiger moves Mexico
AP report on the Tiger Woods Effect at the WGC-Mexico Championship
  • “Golf is still in its relative infancy in Mexico, though the appeal changes when one of the most recognizable athletes in the world is in town. Security has increased this year, most of that because of Woods.”
  • “Grupo Salinas took over sponsorship of this WGC in the summer of 2016, when Woods was recovering from two back surgeries. There was no guarantee if his game would get back, so news of his decision to play last week was massive for small sector of golf fans in Mexico.”
  • “Tiger definitely moves the needle,” said Benjamin Salinas, the CEO of TV Azteca and lead voice for Grupo Salinas at the Mexico Championship. “When he announced he was coming, ticket sales leaped tenfold. He moves Mexico.”
5. Hot take: Romo is wrong
I’ll just let Carlos Monarrez take it from here regarding Tony Romo’s sponsor’s exemption into the Byron Nelson.
  • “Romo couldn’t get in the honest way, through a Monday qualifier like the hoi polloi who have to scratch and claw their way in.”
  • “Maybe some fans think it’s cute and harmless and will be curious to see how Romo will fare. But I’ve covered pro golfers for years, and I have too much respect for their struggle to watch an amateur with an inflated sense of himself pretend to be a pro for two days on his way to missing the cut badly.”
  • “And make no mistake, Romo will miss the cut. At last year’s Nelson, the cut came at 4-under-par. Amazing players like Sergio Garcia, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Brandt Snedeker missed the cut. Romo also got a sponsor’s exemption last March to the PGA Tour’s event in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and he finished dead last among 132 players at 15-over.”
6. Pat Perez loves his Js
Helen Ross of talked to the singular Pat Perez about his affection for Jordans.
Here’s a morsel regarding Double P’s meeting with his Airness
  • “The relationship developed into a business pact, as well, and Perez now wears Jordan Brand shoes on the golf course. The two text often, and his Airness even sent Perez and his wife Ashley gifts when their daughter was born last year. Oh, and Perez loves getting shipments of Air Jordans for his collection.”
  • “Perez’s only regret? One day when the two had hit the links, Jordan was wearing a pair of VI golf shoes – which were “the only pair in the world,” Perez says.”
  • “After the round, Perez says, “I can’t, believe you made those into golf shoes.” To which Jordan replies, “Well, take them if they fit.”
7. Tiger Hood doc
Golf Digest’s Alex Myers...”What began as an activity to pass the time while trying to sell his photographs has “become a lifestyle” for Patrick Barr. Better known around the streets of New York City as “Tiger Hood,” Barr now spends much of his days and nights hitting empty milk cartons with a golf club. And he’s about to have even bigger galleries watching him in action.”
  • “A new documentary titled Neighborhood Golf Association by Nicolas Heller explores Barr’s life, career, and mostly his unusual hobby. Heller, the man behind the popular New York Nico Instagram account, does a nice job of showing the charismatic local legend in his element while also getting across Barr’s beautiful message of inclusivity.”
8. McIlroy to skip Irish Open
Gareth Hanna at the Belfast Telegraph on the news that Rory will be passing on his island’s Open.
  • “The world number eight was the tournament host from 2015 to 2018 and strived to place the Irish Open among the European Tour’s top events.”
  • “However, he says missing out on this year’s edition at Lahinch will give him a better chance of lifting the Claret Jug at the Open Championship in Portrush.”
  • “The Irish Open will be played, as is the norm, two weeks before the major in July…McIlroy has previously said that he will look to play the week before the four major tournaments this season and has now confirmed his intention to tee it up at the Scottish Open at The Renaissance Club rather than the week before in County Clare.”
9. Wiezy’s back
Michelle Wie fired an opening-round 68 at the Honda LPGA Thailand in her first
competitive action since hand surgery in October.
Eun-Hee Ji leads at 9 under after one round. Scores.
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Abraham Ancer becomes Miura’s first PGA Tour ambassador



Miura Golf has announced that Abraham Ancer will be the company’s first-ever PGA Tour ambassador ahead of this week’s WGC-Mexico Championship.

As a PGA Tour ambassador for the club manufacturer, Ancer, who has played Miura clubs since 2017, will work directly with the Miura family in Himeji, Japan to craft his custom-designed forged irons and will don a Miura hat at tour events.

Speaking on the announcement, Ancer said

“I switched to Miura irons well before any partnership; I just wanted to play the best forged irons available. I am honored to represent Miura and look forward to introducing Miura to the Mexican market.”

Ancer as well as club fitter Genaro Davila (who initially fit Ancer for Miura clubs two years ago) have also teamed up with entrepreneur Gerardo Benavides to form Dead Solid Perfect (DSP) Golf Mexico, which will become the official distributor of Miura Golf in Mexico.

Hoyt McGarity, President of Miura Golf, shared his thoughts on the partnership, stating

“This is a first for Miura, and it was important to us that this partnership transcend the traditional sponsorship model. Abraham is the perfect partner to grow Miura’s presence on and off the course. As one of the most successful Mexican golfers ever, his personal investment in Miura is the strongest endorsement as we increase our operations in Mexico and other parts of the world.”

Ancer will tee it up for the first time since becoming Miura’s first PGA Tour Ambassador today at the WGC-Mexico Championship at Club de Golf Chapultepec. The 27-year-old will play alongside Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau in the opening round at 2.03 pm ET.



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Danny Lee’s Mizuno MP-32 irons: The real inside scoop!



Hipsters are known for loving “old” stuff — you know the classics, the vintage, the retro. From vinyl, to thrift store sweaters, what’s old is new again. In the case of Danny Lee, he’s leading the charge as the PGA Tour’s iron hipster.

It should also be noted that “old” is a relative term, especially with golf equipment. Now when it comes to “classics,” Mizuno has produced some of the most recognizable irons of all time, including the Cut Muscle MP-32 released in 2004.

We recently spotted Danny Lee at the Genesis Open and it started a LOT of discussion about classic designs, as well as whether these are new old stock (NOS) or new forgings, using the original tooling.

I reached out to Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer Chris Voshall to get to the bottom of this interesting iron development. (Plus the idea that Mizuno has sets of 10-plus year-old irons kicking around ready for custom builds — I have a huge smile thinking about what that storage room might look like — is a pretty fun thought).

Heres the inside scoop on Danny’s irons from Chris Voshall

“The MP-32s being played by Danny Lee are a new old stock set that came from Luke Donald’s personal stash inside the tour van. The ones Danny is playing are the very last set of custom grind 32s that were made for Luke.”


“Here’s the part that makes the Danny’s set unique – During final development of the 32s, Luke was feeling that the soles for him were not getting through the turf the same as his previous MP-33s, but he loved the profile and extra forgiveness offered by the cut muscle design.

“By working with the Craftsman on the Mizuno team they created a unique sole profile for Luke that modernized that of the MP-33 for his new MP-32s. They rounded off and beveled the trailing edge of the 32s and had multiple sets made that he used during their entire run in the line.

“The tell tale of the Luke soled irons vs. the retail and standard version is how close the trailing edge of the sole is to the “Mizuno” on the back. What’s even more interesting about the development of that sole and grind is that every MP iron moving forward in the line starting with the MP-62 in 2008 utilized the exact sole profile of the one developed with Luke for the 32s and then 62s he used to become Number 1 player in the world.”

Below are comparison pics of Danny’s irons vs retail MP-32s and MP-62s

Danny Lee’s LD Grind 32s

Standard MP-32 7-iron – notice the amount of space above the “Mizuno” text

Right – MP-62 vs Standard MP-32

Danny Lees LD Grind 9-iron

Retail MP-32 9-iron

MP-62 9-iron vs retail MP-32

WOW! How cool is that insider information? True 14-year-old prototypes back in play on Tour! Now we know 100 percent the real story behind this very cool set and how it lead to historical Mizuno design changes that we still see in the MP line today!


NOTE: All Mizuno forged irons pre-2010 meet the 2010 USGA Conforming Groove rule; they were conforming before and are still conforming now. This is also part of the reason you don’t see many other classic irons on tour, except for maybe some from Ping which did do a few older models with new grooves –most notably D.A Points’ i5s irons. 

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19th Hole