John Huh tends to smile and chuckle a lot when talking about his 2012 season on the PGA Tour. Of course, when a player has had the type of season Huh has experienced, it’s easy to be happy.
Huh is preparing for his 19th PGA Tour event, the Greenbrier Classic, this week. He’ll tee off Thursday afternoon with Ben Curtis and D.A. Points. If Huh holds true to form, he’ll likely be playing the weekend in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.
He may even be in contention come Sunday.
Tiger Woods’ three victories and return to dominance aside, Huh has been the feel-good story on the PGA Tour this year. A longest of long shots, Huh enters the Greenbrier Classic ranked 16th in the FedEx Cup standings.
“I’m trying not to put a lot of pressure on myself,” Huh, 22, told 7CsGOLF.com at the Travelers Championship. “If I don’t do that, I’ll do pretty good I think.”
The formula has worked so far.
Huh, who turned pro at 18, played a year on the Korean Tour and two on the OneAsia Tour before trying his hand at PGA Tour Q School last winter. He earned his Tour card on the number, tying for 27th place, but there’s been nothing borderline about his performance in his rookie season.
In just his fifth start, Huh won the Myakoba Golf Classic, beating veteran Robert Allenby in a marathon eight-hole playoff. His season has included three other top-10 finishes, among them a runner-up effort at the Texas Open.
He’s made 13 of 18 cuts heading into Greenbrier and has finished outside the top 40 in just two of the events in which he’s made the cut. His $2.2 million ranks No. 14 on the money list.
“As a rookie, especially coming out of Q School, all you try to do is keep your card for the season,” he said. “Fortunately, I did it for two years.”
The victory has enabled him to relax just a bit, but it also has made Huh raise the bar for himself. He now goes into every tournament with higher expectations.
And there are still goals to achieve. Now, he wants to play well enough to get himself into the majors. The other challenge is to keep himself from getting too excited with his success.
“You’re moving every week, so you have to schedule well and prepare well and just get ready for Thursday,” he said. “That’s the toughest thing for a rookie. You don’t know the golf courses and you kind of want to know the golf courses and it’s hard to play every week even when you’re young.
“Physically, it’s tough. I try not to play too much, but not take too much of a break. You just have to give a balance.”
Huh is hopeful that his first PGA Tour win won’t be his last. That, too, can be a burden. But Huh will just keep playing his game and keep smiling.
“I think every guy on the Tour has a chance to win,” he said. “You just have to have a good week, and it will take care of itself.”
– Chuck Curti