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Tom Kim was absolutely the star of Presidents Cup week, nonetheless solely 20 years outdated.

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

It is not clear Why He jumps. He is been getting ready for the higher a part of an hour now, and power hasn’t been a priority. Kim, the “clown” proclaimed by the worldwide group, has been bouncing off partitions since he acquired to the coaching vary, exchanging laughter and shaking palms 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 incredible and easy swing. He cuts his blade throughout the bottom with each grace and enthusiasm. Butter items may be served on sourdough.

One doesn’t want to observe Tom Kim golf for quite a lot of minutes to understand that he’s dedicated to stardom on the planet {of professional} golf in the present day. His expertise are completely wonderful, and his power could be very contagious.

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

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 put in writing his legacy. The youngest of eight junior gamers vying for the worldwide group in opposition to a deeply favored American group, Kim might make his means into the world of golf this week. It is a enormous alternative and nobodyNot even Kim himself is aware of methods to reply. Very quickly now, he may have a solution.

However at first he made 15 extra jumps.

The arrival of Tom Kim continues to be a shocker.

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

Most followers do not keep in mind the primary time they met Tom Kim. It is exhausting 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 strong new drive on the worldwide golf scene,” Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Investments, mentioned on that day, asserting the $300 million funding within the tour on behalf of the Saudi Public Funding Fund. On reflection, 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 supplied to mitigate the dangers to the perfect golfers.

Tom – a reputation he adopted from “Joohyung” after the kids’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 feel I used to be there as a result of I simply received the Medal of Advantage on the Asian Tour,” he says now. “It was type of a spot I wanted to fill in.”

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 acquired a suggestion 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 at all times knew I wished to play on the PGA Tour. That was my predominant objective,” 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 group wracked by defections to LIV, together with the likes of world primary Cameron Smith and Joaquin Niemann within the days earlier than the rosters had 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 solution to the Presidents Cup the place, at 20 years outdated, 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 group room final evening, 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 at all times dreamed of creating loopy fist pumps as a result of it’s a matching recreation. So I’m actually trying ahead to it.”

Tom Kim stirs the gang on the Presidents Cup.

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It is exhausting to pinpoint the second Tom the Tank Engine took cost of Presidents Cup week, however there is no 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 select a beginning junior basketball with 5 internationals.

“I type 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 group turned a legend. He appeared to play in Charlotte with a Carolina Blue racket grip, an apt nod to the realm’s favourite coloration. After simply two days collectively, seven of the 12 internationals voted him the group’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 recreation as a result of he “offers me a tough time”. On Thursday afternoon, Kim was the one member of the worldwide group who known 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 school math? He checked out me and mentioned, “Dude, I did not even graduate from highschool.”

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

“I similar to to joke rather a lot,” he mentioned. “I am fortunate sufficient that they do not discover it tough.”

Success got here shortly to Kim, however his ego didn’t comply with. 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 had not but realized what everybody round him had already accepted on the Presidents’ Cup as a reality: Quickly, he would not be a stranger to anybody.

“Oh, I do not find out about that,” he mentioned when requested if he appears like he is being observed extra. “However it might be actually cool. I nonetheless have a protracted solution to go.”

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

It is Wednesday afternoon within the Presidents Cup, and he isn’t simply one other golfer standing on the inexperienced, he is the final golfer a number of hundred yards away in both course. 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 observe three toes and end it inside seconds. Kim has been right here for practically half an hour.

It ought to be famous that Kim is essentially answerable for this endeavor. He selected to observe along with his pictures towards a gap minimize in the course of a fierce cliff… from six toes away. His bullets glide so far as they journey, dashing towards the opening at completely 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’re kidding me!” He groans when somebody comes out to the left, dips his head in his palms and pushes his hat over his head. Kim makes the sport look simple. it is not.

Skovron, the brand new can, stops him.

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

Kim takes effectively 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 observe him.

James Colgan

Golf.com Editor

James Colgan is an affiliate editor at GOLF, contributing tales to the positioning and journal. Scorching 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 may be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.