Chois Bois

By Jason SobelMay 16, 2011, 4:15 am

The Players ChampionshipPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – This is not a love story.

Five years ago, a group of good ol’ boys from Nashville, Tenn., journeyed to The Players Championship. There was Bobby Page, his two college-aged sons and a few of their pals. All nice guys, the kind with infectious smiles and contagious laughs that can make friends with a stranger in no time at all.

It was your typical buddies’ golf trip. They watched golf, played golf and talked about golf. It was so much fun, they turned it into an annual tradition, making the pilgrimage to TPC Sawgrass for every edition of the event since.

Prior to last year, though, they were fans without a mission. They cheered for the great shots and sighed for the disappointing ones, but their attention had no direction.

Until they found K.J. Choi.

“We were sitting between 16 and 17 and some golfers were coming through,” Alex Kirkland recalled. “They were upset and cussing. Then K.J. comes through; he’s just grinning ear to ear. Ever since then, I was like, he’s just a friendly fellow.”

The Players Championship
Choi was noticed by his fans for his good manners on the course. (Getty Images)
The longtime PGA Tour veteran didn’t have the resume of Tiger Woods or the electric smile of Phil Mickelson or the star-power potential of Rickie Fowler. He did, however, have one thing going for him that appealed to the golf fanatics.

As Bobby Page put it, “We just kept noticing how nice a guy he is.”

And so was born “Choi’s Bois,” an unlikely fan club based solely on the fact that a group of guys from Nashville wanted to root for a player from South Korea simply because they liked him.

No, this is not a love story. It's a like story.

When they returned this year, the group came outfitted in black t-shirts with its lyrical name printed on front. They wore ‘em every day, following their new favorite player all over the course, ignoring all social mores about cheering loudly for a non-superstar and keeping hygiene issues to a minimum.

“We’re probably a little rank,” Page admitted after four days in his shirt. “We’ve been wearing these since Thursday.”

They may never take them off.

That’s because in the first year as an official faction, “Choi’s Bois” witnessed their new hero claim the most important victory of his lengthy career, outlasting David Toms in a playoff to earn the crystal trophy at one of the game’s most prestigious events.

“It’s been a bunch of emotional highs and lows,” David Clayton explained. “He left a few shots out there and we got down a little bit, but we always had hope that he would come through and he did on 17. He hit some incredible shots. We’re all pumped up and excited.”

They’re not the only ones.

You may think big-time golfers are accustomed to signing autographs and having fans yell their names from behind the ropes – and that’s true, to an extent.

When a player gets honored with his own on-course entourage, though, it means a little more than the average applause.

Just ask Choi.

“They showed me a lot of support, a lot of love,” he said through an interpreter Sunday evening. “For them to come all the way from Tennessee to watch me play? Imagine, I have no relationship with them. This is the first time I’ve ever seen them. For them to fly all the way over just because they like me as a player and to support me they way that they did, I’m very appreciative. It’s really spectacular to see something like that.”

Choi enjoyed their continuous company throughout his rounds so much that he asked them if they could all take a photo together – not the other way around – breaking a long-standing unspoken rule that it’s the fans who are supposed to initiate that type of memento instead of the players.

But remember, Choi is a nice guy – the very reason “Choi’s Bois” started rooting for him in the first place.

“He really appreciated it,” Page said. “We’ve had a ball and he’s been very nice to us. We built a lot of memories while we’ve been down here. That’s what it’s all about.”

“He just loves the game and plays it the right way,” Curtis Gribble added. “He’s just a joy to watch. When he bogeys a hole, if anybody claps, he acknowledges them – more than any other golfer out here. You can tell he just loves what he’s doing and enjoys the fans. He just knows it’s special to be out here.”

It was at that point when Page interjected, reminding Gribble of an earlier acknowledgement from their favorite golfer.

“Hey, he said he loves you,” Page recalled with a laugh.

Maybe this is a love story after all. At least, as Gribble concluded, “In a roundabout kind of way.”

Follow Jason Sobel on Twitter @JasonSobelGC
Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.