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Tom Kim was absolutely the star of Presidents Cup week, nonetheless solely 20 years outdated.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 vitality hasn’t been a priority. Kim, the “clown” proclaimed by the worldwide crew, has been bouncing off partitions since he obtained 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.

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

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

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

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 likelihood to put in writing his legacy. The youngest of eight junior gamers vying for the worldwide crew in opposition to a deeply favored American crew, Kim might make his manner into the world of golf this week. It is a enormous alternative and nobodyNot even Kim himself is aware of easy methods to reply. Very quickly now, he could 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 rapidly discovered himself a beloved participant on the worldwide crew. On the PGA Tour.

Most followers do not bear in mind the primary time they met Tom Kim. It is onerous responsible 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’re positioning the Asian Tour as a strong new drive on the worldwide golf scene,” Greg Norman, CEO of LIV Golf Investments, stated 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 supplied 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 in the course of 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 form of a spot I wanted to fill.”

Because the gifted 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 needed to play on the PGA Tour. That was my primary aim,” Kim stated 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 global crew 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 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 crew room final night time, I imply, I want I noticed the child’s face,” stated 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 stated on Tuesday, and a surprised smile unfold throughout his face. “I’ve at all times dreamed of constructing loopy fist pumps as a result of it’s a matching recreation. So I’m actually trying ahead to it.”

Tom Kim stirs the group on the Presidents Cup.

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It is onerous to pinpoint the second Tom the Tank Engine took cost of Presidents Cup week, however there is not any doubt that it’ll.

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

Quickly, Kim’s first few days across the worldwide crew turned a legend. He appeared to play in Charlotte with a Carolina Blue paddle grip, an apt nod to the realm’s favourite shade. After simply two days collectively, seven of the 12 internationals voted him the crew’s largest 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 in the course of the competitors, however Masters Champion Scottie Scheffler considers it honest recreation as a result of he “provides me a tough time”. On Thursday afternoon, Kim was the one member of the worldwide crew who referred to as on the group 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 abilities earned him some laughs.

“At this time we’re twelve,” stated assistant captain Camilo Villegas. So I seemed on the child and stated, ‘Tom, is this faculty math? He checked out me and stated, “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 quite a bit,” he stated. “I am fortunate sufficient that they do not discover it troublesome.”

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

“Oh, I do not find out about that,” he stated when requested if he appears like he is being seen extra. “However it will be actually cool. I nonetheless have a protracted 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 isn’t simply one other golfer standing on the coaching 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 apply three toes and end it inside seconds. Kim has been right here for practically half an hour.

It must be famous that Kim is basically chargeable for this endeavor. He selected to apply together with his pictures towards a gap lower 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 the vast majority of his wets, however he would 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 straightforward. it isn’t.

Skovron, the brand new can, stops him.

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

Kim takes nicely to coaching. He settles down, takes a deep breath, and practices the punch once more. This time, get well. Little applause and shouts come from the inexperienced. Kim appears 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 location 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 might be reached at james.colgan@golf.com.