ORLANDO, Fla. – Credit K.J. Choi for a large part of John Huh’s success this week. A five-hour bunker lesson at Choi’s home club in Texas has led to a perfect 5 for 5 in sand saves at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It helped vault Huh to a 8-under 136, one shot behind Bill Haas early Friday.
Huh, the 2012 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year, called Choi “the master of the bunker.”
“I took a really good note and good memory,” Huh said. “Hopefully, I can do that for the rest of the week.”
Choi said “many people” have sought his advice on bunker play. It’s no wonder considering that he’s second on the Tour in sand saves behind Luke Donald, getting up and down 74 percent of the time. Choi taught Huh how to swing harder through the sand. Huh spent a full day at Choi’s home course in Texas – Vaquero Golf Club – last month working on his new technique. Heading into the week, Huh ranked T-133 in sand saves. He’s T-1 at Bay Hill.
Choi became efficient out of the sand after reading in 2000 that Gary Player used to practice so much he’d wear out a wedge a day.
It’s not just the pros who have benefitted from Choi’s instruction. Each winter, Choi invites four junior boys and two girls from his native South Korea to a training session in Florida. For 21 consecutive days, the kids spend four hours each morning in the bunkers.
Choi believes Huh will be a force on the PGA Tour for years to come, praising his free-flowing swing. It’s clear that Huh is a feel player, as he couldn’t offer one bit of information regarding the technique taught by Choi: “I’m just trying to get the feel of what he does.”
Huh picked up the nickname the “Question Mark” after he won in his first few months on Tour. Huh said he likes to stay away from that image given that a question mark, by nature, tends to bring up doubt about his game.
But, after being picked on as a kid, he’s embracing the fame that comes with having such an unusual surname.
“Now that my last name is probably the most unique last name on the Tour, I try to enjoy every moment when the fans call my last name,” he said.
He’s good, no question.