Charley Hull, golfer went viral for a cigarette

A simple cigarette has sparked controversy for Charley Hull, changing the way golf has been discussed in recent days, pushing beyond the boundaries of our sport and becoming an icon in itself

by Andrea Gussoni
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Charley Hull, golfer went viral for a cigarette
© Getty Images Sport - Sarah Stier / Staff

A simple cigarette has sparked controversy for Charley Hull, changing the way golf has been discussed in recent days, pushing beyond the boundaries of our sport and becoming an icon in itself. The most talked-about scene came from Pennsylvania, where the US Women's Open concluded, won by Japanese golfer Yuka Saso.

Charley Hull, 28 years old, hailing from Kettering, is ranked ninth in the Rolex World Ranking. With two victories on the LPGA Tour and three on the European circuit, she's a established figure in women's golf. However, this time she wasn't celebrated for her on-course exploits but for a seemingly insignificant moment at the Lancaster Country Club.

Charley Hull, results

Last Tuesday, after lunch, as she headed to the practice range, Charley indulged in a cigarette in a moment of complete relaxation. As she lit up, a child asked her for an autograph on his cap. Without hesitation, she took the pen in one hand, the cap in the other, and kept the cigarette in her mouth.

This scene repeated with other spectators, drawing attention from smartphones. Zephyr Melton of Golf.com documented the moment, but it was the internet and social media that made it go viral. By last Saturday, that post had racked up almost 50,000 likes and 2.3 million views.

However, those who were present at the Lancaster Country Club report a popularity that goes well beyond the virtual world. Dozens of people stopped Charley for a photo (with the cigarette in her mouth) or an autograph, expressing an affection never seen before.

Some have compared Charley Hull to John Daly, the iconic rebellious golfer. Daly's current image depicts him with a cigarette and a Diet Coke in hand. However, Hull isn't quite as evanescent: she demonstrates taking care of her physique with hours in the gym and has stated that she has no vices other than smoking.

Despite the sudden fame, Charley seems unfazed. Her agent reported that since Tuesday, she gained 70,000 followers on Instagram, but Hull herself recently deleted all social networks from her phone, stating that "you lose too much time scrolling through pages." When she wants to communicate something, she sends photos or videos to her agent's phone.

Charley Hull
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