Updated April. 30, 2014 01:34
Noh Seung-yul set a unique record this season by capturing the PGA Tour`s Zurich Classic of New Orleans. Except for golfers hailing from the U.S. or Australia, Noh has become the first golfer to clinch the title at the 24th event he has participated since the opening of the season. The 22-year-old is drawing all the more attention in that he broke the imbalance of championship records at the PGA tour, in which world best golfers fiercely compete with each other. The PGA website has uploaded a flurry of news reports that analyze Nohs victory, showing keen interest in the rookie star. Amid negative environment with "Golf Emperor" Tiger Woods absent from events for an extended period due to waist injury, PGA welcomed the emergence of a new star player as positive development for the success of the tour.
After winning the title, Noh said that stellar performances by young golfers in recent years stimulated him, adding that he will redouble efforts to catch up with them. Foreign news outlets included Noh in the list of promising young guns that also include Jordan Spieth (21), Patrick Leed (24), Russell Henley (25), Harris English (25), and Rory McIlroy (25), who are armed with top-notch skills. With no bogey through the third round at the Zurich Classic, Noh cool-mindedly played without being swayed at all different crises he encountered in the fourth round, giving strong impression to golf fans. Analysts also concurred that his first win is not a result of fluke but efforts.
Noh had to pass through a long dark tunnel before embracing watchers rosy outlook on his future. Last year, he failed to pass the preliminaries 13 times, and made the list of top 10 players just once, struggling with a deep slump.
As the rankings changed by more than 10 places even for a gap of single par in the final round, I tried to stay calm not to increase pars. As a result, my body stiffened and I could not swing properly. Hence, I changed my mind, with intention that I would play all the rounds without feeling burden just as I did on the first day. I tried not to be mindful even if I commit a bogey, Noh said.
Standing by Noh, who said he tried to take it easy, was his elder sister Seung-eun (24). The Korean golfer has been accompanied by the sister since 2012 when he made debut in the PGA tour, because his father, who would take care of him, was hospitalized to treat thyroid gland cancer. His sister followed Noh everywhere, playing multiple roles as his manager, who handled accommodation, driving and air ticket reservation, and life counselor.
Noh Seung-eun said, Seung-yul worked hard but suffered a slump last year, and thus our family agonized a lot. Even my father had recurrence of cancer, rendering it all the more difficult to overcome hardships. Even though we wanted to return to Korea, we patiently waited until we secure good performance. The sister said she became more playful with him than in ordinary times due to concern that the brother would feel disappointed. When staying at their home in Dallas that they bought in November last year, she used extra care in preparing food for him.
When the sister saw Noh hold up his first career championship trophy of the PGA tour on site on Monday after prolonged waiting, she had tears in her eyes. Their father Noh Gu-hyeon, 51, who is staying at his residence in Korea said, I had many worries when my children were first travelling across the U.S. Unlike the practice in the U.S. where siblings live independently after growing up, some would see them with curious eyes. Seung-yul respects his sister a lot. I am truly proud of them, in expressing satisfaction.