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Gear Dive Special Edition: A talk with Ho Sung Choi (plus WITB)

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ho sung choi

As only he can, Johnny Wunder was able to snag 15 minutes with the purveyor of the “fisherman’s swing,” the viral phenomenon that is Ho Sung Choi.

Wunder caught up with the South Korean pro as he prepares for his sponsor’s exemption start at this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Enjoy a transcript of their chat (facilitated by Choi’s interpreter, Paul Whang) below.

JW: What is his reaction to the amount of positive attention he’s getting come from the United States?

He’s thankful to the level where he can’t explain it in words. He’s very overwhelmed with the amount of fans that he has and the attention that he’s gotten lately. And because of the fans that he has, they bring him a lot more energy when he plays golf.

JW: What is he most excited about this week? 

Right now he’s just very excited to be here and playing in this tournament. He knows that there are a lot of people watching him, and he just wants to…play great and have fun…

JW: He has a very unique way of playing…is that just his natural way of playing? 

He didn’t start playing it this way…it took a while to have his game to evolve, and after a while he found a playing style that worked for him, that fit him, that’s just his natural…way of playing…He wants everyone to know that the way he plays golf, that’s how he plays naturally.

JW: What tournament is he most excited to play in? 

He can’t really give an answer, because how he sees it, he’s just very grateful to even have an opportunity to play anywhere, and because he’s a professional golfer, no matter what tournament he goes out to play, whichever tournament…he’s going to give it 100 percent…and that’s the kind of person he is.

JW: Has he been to the United States before?

This is actually his first time here…and he’s been here for 11 days now.

JW: Where did he get his golf bag? 

He actually doesn’t have a main sponsor…it wasn’t until he got to LA, it was through a favor that someone made that bag for him.

JW: Was it Burt Lamar that made the bag? [Iliac Golf]

Yes, that’s correct.

JW: What clubs does he have in the bag?

The driver is TaylorMade. Fairway wood and hybrid is Callaway. The irons are TaylorMade. Wedges by Titleist. Putter is Odyssey.

With information from Andrew Tursky at PGATour.com, Choi’s WITB is as follows.

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: UST  Mamiya V2 6FS Tour prototype

3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash (15 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Evolution V x-flex

5-wood: Callaway Epic Flash (18 degrees)

Hybrids: Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 (20, 23 degrees)
Shafts: Fujikura MCH 90X

Irons: TaylorMade’s 2016 Japan Gloire Forged (5-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro prototype

Wedges: Vokey 2018 Prototype (50, 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: Odyssey O-Works Red Jailbird Mini

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

You can listen to the full Gear Dive interview below.

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7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Rascal

    Feb 6, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    This guy is going to be the next chi chi Rodriguez…I so missed him.

  2. Rory sepoes

    Feb 6, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    More Ho Sung Choi, less Rory’s boring opinions I’m so tired of that dude and his ruh-tarded thoughts!! “ I’m a multi multi millionaire but taxes in California are too high” are you effing joking you curly headed clown shoe
    “Ho Sung Choi is taking it too far no one should react to a golf shot like that and he’s taken a spot away from a pga member” vomit in my mouth

  3. a.k.

    Feb 6, 2019 at 12:04 pm

    Wow, he sounds too pure, like a blank sheet of paper.
    I wish he fills that page with a great success. kudos to you Gwrx!

  4. john

    Feb 6, 2019 at 11:12 am

    We need more characters in the game. All the best, Mr. Choi.

  5. Clayton Petree

    Feb 6, 2019 at 10:57 am

    I wish you the best experience both for your visit to the US and for your tournament play. I really enjoy his story and the fact that he started golf a bit later in life. Good Luck Mr. Choi!

  6. HSC Fan

    Feb 6, 2019 at 12:32 am

    Best interview you had! This interview was 100 percent real! No one was trying to sound cool or fake. It was really good to hear a interview with heart from both sides.

  7. Scott Dale

    Feb 5, 2019 at 9:41 pm

    Dude!! Great interview! This guy is def something to be excited about and he’s so humble. Translator was actually kind of a cool aspect of the interview. Well done Gwrx.

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Equipment

Abraham Ancer becomes Miura’s first PGA Tour ambassador

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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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Equipment

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

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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.”

(HERES WHERE THE STORY GETS VERY INTERESTING)

“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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Tour News

Tiger Woods lofting up for thin air? Examining the switch and what happens when you play at altitude

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It’s not very often a Tiger Woods equipment change flies under the radar, but for one of the world’s most recognizable golfers, a little fairway wood switch should have some big impacts. Per the Darrell Survey and some insider information, the Big Cat has switched from a 13-degree TaylorMade M5 Ti fairway to the same model in 15 degrees (Woods is sticking with the same Mitsubishi Diamana D+ White 80TX shaft).

In his press conference at the Genesis Open Tiger said

“I’ve always been pretty good at taking spin off, but I’m trying to get the ball up for this week and trying to hit the ball high. I knew that that was going to be one of the things I needed to do. And also getting ready if I was going to play Mexico, it was going to be two weeks of trying to get that ball up because obviously it’s at altitude next week and the ball doesn’t spin a lot. So to be able to send that ball up in the air and have it pretty soft when it lands I thought was important.”

It’s an interesting point by Tiger, and this also gives us another reason to pay a little extra attention to the shots hit with that club over the next couple weeks. Also, it’s not every day I get to explain, or in this case, help correct, a misunderstanding in a Tiger Woods quote.

Here is the part of the statement “it was going to be two weeks of trying to get that ball up because obviously it’s at altitude next week and the ball doesn’t spin a lot.” 

Let me explain: The golf ball in an inanimate object has no idea it’s at altitude; the air will not have an effect on how much the ball will actually spin. YES increasing loft should, by almost every imaginable measure, increase spin (so Woods’ switch is the right one, from that standpoint) but the air it travels through will not change the spin rate.

However, playing at altitude does have effects. Let’s break down what happens

  • Thinner air exerts less drag force (resistance) on the ball. The ball moves more easily through this less dense air and won’t decelerate as quickly as it flies. But note that the faster an object moves the more drag force will occur.
  • Less resistance also means that it harder to shape shots. So you when you see Shot Tracer, the pros are going to be hitting it even straighter (like they need the help – eye roll)
  • Less force = less lift, the the ball will also fly lower and on a flatter trajectory

Time for some fun math from Steve Aoyama, a Principal Scientist at Titleist Golf Ball R&D (full piece here: The Effect of Altitude on Golf Ball Performance)

“You can calculate the distance gain you will experience (compared to sea level) by multiplying the elevation (in feet) by .00116. For example, if you’re playing in Reno, at 1 mile elevation (5,280 ft.) the increase is about 6% (5,280 x .00116 = 6.1248). If you normally drive the ball 250 yards at sea level, you will likely drive it 265 yards in Reno.”

With Club de Golf Chapultepec sitting just over 7,800 feet above sea level, we’re looking at 9.048 or an increase of just over 9 percent. THATS A BIG DEAL! That makes this 7,341 yard course play 6,677 yards (+/- where the tees are placed).

We often see the question of what would happen is pros played “my” course, and in the case of the WGC in Mexico City we might have a pretty good idea, owing to the effective yardage.

As for the fairway wood switch, the lofted-up TaylorMade M5 should help Woods navigate the tight, tree-lined fairways at Club de Golf Chapultepec, and potentially help him add to his impressive list of WGC titles.

 

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