After banishing LIV, Tom Kim quickly reached stardom on the PGA Tour

Tom Kim was absolutely the star of Presidents Cup week, nonetheless solely 20 years previous.

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CHARLOTTE, NC – Early Thursday afternoon at Quail Hole’s coaching floor, Tom Kim is making the soar.

It is not clear Why He jumps. He is been getting ready for the higher a part of an hour now, and vitality hasn’t been a priority. Kim, the “clown” proclaimed by the worldwide staff, has been bouncing off partitions since he bought to the coaching vary, exchanging laughter and shaking fingers enthusiastically with anybody who will pay attention. Assistant Captain KJ Choi paused to attempt to give some final phrases of knowledge. He walked away from Kim, laughing. Then got here the assistant captain Camilo Villegas. Similar end result.

Aside from the leaping jacks, the warm-up is flawless. Kim has an excellent and easy swing. He cuts his blade throughout the bottom with each grace and enthusiasm. Butter items will be served on sourdough.

One doesn’t want to look at Tom Kim golf for quite a lot of minutes to appreciate that he’s dedicated to stardom on this planet {of professional} golf at this time. His expertise are completely wonderful, and his vitality may be very contagious.

“Do you’re feeling it but?!” Half shouts on the new can, Joe Skovron, who can hardly chuckle.

In a couple of minutes, Kim will begin the third match of the Presidents Cup alongside fellow Korean KH Lee. Among the many informal golf fanatic, the Presidents Cup is Kim’s first probability to write down his legacy. The youngest of eight junior gamers vying for the worldwide staff in opposition to a deeply favored American staff, Kim may make his means into the world of golf this week. This can be a big alternative and nobodyNot even Kim himself is aware of learn how to reply. Very quickly now, he could have a solution.

However at first he made 15 extra jumps.

The arrival of Tom Kim remains to be a shocker.

Not simply within the President’s Cup, the 20-year-old shortly discovered himself a beloved participant on the worldwide staff. On the PGA Tour.

Most followers do not bear in mind the primary time they met Tom Kim. It is arduous accountable them. When Kim walked into the press convention witnessing his unofficial entry to skilled golf, he was removed from the supply of the intrigue.

“We place the Asian Tour as a robust new pressure on the worldwide golf scene,” Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Investments, mentioned that day, asserting the $300 million funding within the tour on behalf of the Saudi Public Funding Fund. Looking back, it turned obvious that LIV’s curiosity within the Tour was primarily pushed by its hopes of manufacturing a aggressive golf league, utilizing the assured world rating factors on the Asian Tour provided to mitigate the dangers to the most effective golfers.

Tom – a reputation he adopted from “Joohyung” after the youngsters’s character “Thomas the Tank Engine” – sat on to Norman’s left throughout the press convention, however did not have a lot to say.

“I believe I used to be there as a result of I simply received the Medal of Benefit on the Asian Tour,” he says now. “It was sort of a spot I wanted to fill.”

Because the proficient and multicultural face of the Asian Tour, many assumed Kim was the primary goal of the rival league. He would not say if he ever obtained a proposal from Norman, however his presence at Quail Hole fills in lots of blanks.

Tom Kim (proper) sits subsequent to Greg Norman within the advert for LIV Golf’s Asian Tour.

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“I all the time knew I needed to play on the PGA Tour. That was my principal aim,” Kim mentioned on Tuesday. [at the time of the press conference] I had no standing, whether or not it was the Korn Ferry Tour or the PGA Tour. It is a loopy flip for me.”

A flip that landed him within the Presidents Cup after lower than six months on the PGA Tour. After all, a few of that is because of a world staff wracked by defections to LIV, together with the likes of world primary Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann within the days earlier than the rosters have been completed. However Kim deserves some credit score after a rookie season that noticed him end twenty fifth on the US Open, end third on the Scottish Open, and most notably, his season-ending win at Wyndham. Simply weeks after Kim secured full standing for the 2023 Tour season in Greensboro, he made his strategy to the Presidents Cup the place, at 20 years previous, he turned the youngest participant on any of the rosters.

“For a man like Tom Kim to have the ability to hang around with Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama within the staff room final night time, I imply, I want I noticed the child’s face,” mentioned worldwide captain Trevor Immelman. “It was simply pure pleasure, pleasure and anticipation for the week.”

“I can’t describe in phrases, actually, how exuberant I’m,” he mentioned on Tuesday, and a surprised smile unfold throughout his face. “I’ve all the time dreamed of creating loopy fist pumps as a result of it’s a matching sport. So I’m actually wanting ahead to it.”

Tom Kim stirs the gang on the Presidents Cup.

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It is arduous to pinpoint the second Tom the Tank Engine took cost of Presidents Cup week, however there isn’t any doubt that it’s going to.

The 20-year-old is the discuss of the city in Charlotte, each on and off his squad. Like on Tuesday morning, when Immelmann was requested to choose a beginning junior basketball with 5 internationals.

“I sort of like little Tom Kim because the headguard,” mentioned Emelman with a chuckle. “He has a fast mouth on him too, so he is excellent for a base guard.”

Quickly, Kim’s first few days across the worldwide staff turned a legend. He appeared to play in Charlotte with a Carolina Blue paddle grip, an apt nod to the realm’s favourite colour. After simply two days collectively, seven of the 12 internationals voted him the staff’s greatest eater (together with a confirmed vote from Tom himself). Later, the wide-eyed Kim admitted that he respects Jordan Spieth a lot that he cannot discuss to him about trash throughout the competitors, however Masters Champion Scottie Scheffler considers it truthful sport as a result of he “offers me a tough time”. On Thursday afternoon, Kim was the one member of the worldwide staff who referred to as on the gang for extra noise after introducing him into the primary tee field (which he responded with some well mannered boos). Even, it seems that Kim’s math expertise earned him some laughs.

“Immediately we’re twelve,” mentioned assistant captain Camilo Villegas. So I appeared on the child and mentioned, ‘Tom, is this faculty math? He checked out me and mentioned, “Dude, I did not even graduate from highschool.”

Kim, for his half, has no protection. He turned knowledgeable on the age of 15 and has been knowledgeable participant for for much longer than that. This, he says, is what it has all the time been.

“I similar to to joke lots,” he mentioned. “I am fortunate sufficient that they do not discover it troublesome.”

Success got here shortly to Kim, however his ego didn’t observe. His character stays joyfully unfazed by the enormity of the life that preceded him – correctly, for the participant nonetheless 10 months away from his first authorized drink. It’s as if he doesn’t but notice what everybody round him on the Presidents Cup has already accepted as a truth: Quickly, he’ll not be a stranger to anybody.

“Oh, I do not find out about that,” he mentioned when requested if he seems like he is being observed extra. “However it will be actually cool. I nonetheless have an extended strategy to go.”

For the primary time all week, Tom Kim is on his personal.

It is Wednesday afternoon within the Presidents Cup, and he is not simply one other golfer standing on the inexperienced, he is the final golfer a couple of hundred yards away in both route. After a run within the morning and a string of time within the afternoon, he arrived on the play space with a steaming head. It has been right here ever since.

The issue at hand is the stroke, which appears to be out of order. Kim does a “circle train” – the place the participant attracts a five-foot circle round a gap with golf balls and hits all of them in a row. Most gamers use this train to follow three toes and end it inside seconds. Kim has been right here for practically half an hour.

It needs to be famous that Kim is basically liable for this endeavor. He selected to follow along with his pictures towards a gap reduce in the midst of a fierce cliff… from six toes away. His bullets glide so far as they journey, speeding towards the outlet at totally different speeds and instructions, relying on his location.

It is admirable that Tom makes nearly all of his wets, however he does not make all of them, to his chagrin.

“You might be kidding me!” He groans when somebody comes out to the left, dips his head in his fingers and pushes his hat over his head. Kim makes the sport look straightforward. it is not.

Skovron, the brand new can, stops him.

“To not this diploma,” he says. “I believe making half of them could be effective.”

Kim takes properly to coaching. He settles down, takes a deep breath, and practices the punch once more. This time, recuperate. Little applause and shouts come from the inexperienced. Kim appears to be like up, flashing a fast smile. He realizes, for the primary time, that there’s a crowd gathered to look at him.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an affiliate editor at GOLF, contributing tales to the positioning and journal. Sizzling Mic writes GOLF’s weekly media column, and makes use of his experience in broadcasting throughout social media and the model’s video platforms. James, who graduated in 2019 from Syracuse College — and clearly his golf course — nonetheless thawed 4 years in the past within the snow. Previous to becoming a member of GOLF, James was a scholarship holder (and a wise looper) in Lengthy Island, the place he belongs. He will be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.