For perspective's sake, it was like watching light-hitting munchkin Corey Pavin wallop a dozen 300-yard drives in the same day. Choi won a tournament with his putter? This is man-bites-dog news, and that is not a joke about the Korean diet.
Choi won his fifth career PGA Tour event thanks to 12 one-putt greens Sunday and ranked seventh in putting for the week, a huge departure from normalcy. Over the past three years, Choi has not ranked in the top 100 on tour in putting and entered the Memorial at a distant 106th.
Choi started the day five shots behind third-round leader Pampling -- it marked the biggest final-round comeback of 2007 -- and began chipping away immediately. By the eighth hole, when he rolled in the third of four consecutive birdies, he had taken a lead he would never surrender. As Choi kept pouring in putts, Moore described everybody's mood succinctly: "Helpless, for sure."
"I mean, he had control of the tournament," said Moore, who shot 66. "He played well obviously all week and all day."
Perry tried to muscle his way into the mix and nearly executed a miracle. Starting the day nine back, Perry, the Memorial winner in 1991 and 2003, shot his lowest round in nearly two years, a 9-under 63. He finished in a tie with Pampling for third, two back.
Moore, a former college superstar seeking his first tour victory, threw everything he could at Choi down the stretch, making five consecutive birdies starting on the 13th to move within a shot, but the Korean refused to wobble. After a risky lob shot from the hay behind the 14th green, Choi salvaged a par that had Nicklaus himself marveling.
"He didn't learn that shot from me," the Bear said.
Choi birdied five of six holes in one stretch, starting on No. 6, to take command, then hung on to book the biggest win of his career. Every golf fan knows the Korean females are heroes back home because of their dominance of the LPGA circuit, but rest assured, this victory will make a big splash there.
"I was there three weeks ago," Nicklaus said. "I promise you he is very big in Korea."
On this day, the pupil was bigger than the teacher.