In spite of the clamor over Hunter Mahan winning the Accenture Match Play and breaking the choke hold of the monkey on his back or Rory flirting with cosmic history of being #1 in the world at age 22, the real Cinderella story of the weekend was 21 year-old rookie John Huh completing his meteoric rise from nowhere by winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic in a eight hole playoff with tour veteran Robert Allenby. He shot an 8-under par 63 to come from seven shots back to make the playoff and then outlasted Allenby making 8 pars in the playoff.

Huh is an unknown entity out there. Born in NYC in 1990, the same year Allenby started his professional golf career, he moved with his parents back to Korea for 12 years. The family came back to the states and eventually settled in California where John devoted his early teenage years to the game he loved. Not following the typical development path, John did not play in very many prestigious amateur events, did not play any college golf, but decided to turn professional in 2008. For three years he toiled on the Korean Tour honing his skills and winning the 2010 Shinhan Donghae Open. He played the OneAsia Tour as well and finished 46th and 15th in their Order of Merit in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Last fall Huh went to the PGA Tour Qualifying School as a relative unknown and surprised everyone finishing 27th to earn his playing privileges on the PGA Tour for 2012.

What is most startling about this rookie debut is his instant success despite having never played in a PGA sanctioned event before. In 2012 he has played in five events, made every cut, finished top ten twice-6th at the Farmers Insurance and 12th the next week at Phoenix, and now won in his fifth start. At Torrey Pines Gary McCord called him “John Question Mark” as in “Who is this guy?”. He now has over $1.4 million in winnings and all of this without a glass slipper.

A top ten in a major or The Players in May and this story takes on Jeremy Lin proportion.

At this point I would say he is a “shoe-in” for Rookie of the Year.

February, 2012

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