December 6, 2022
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Inside the Record-Setting Start to Tom Kim’s Career

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Few young players in recent years have captivated the public’s interest as swiftly and fully as Tom Kim, the 20-year-old who already owns two PGA TOUR titles. A year ago today, he was ranked 149th in the Official World Golf Ranking, having spent most of his career on the Korean Tour. Now 15th in the world, the charismatic Kim looks poised to be one of the game’s stars for years to come.

Kim’s achievements have come quickly, and his remarkably young age has required fierce digging through the record books to provide context. Some of the high points:

  • With his win in August at the Wyndham Championship, Kim (at 20 years, 1 month and 17 days old) became the second-youngest PGA TOUR winner since World War II. In that span only Jordan Spieth at the 2013 John Deere Classic (age 19) was younger at the time of his first PGA TOUR title. Kim was the youngest PGA TOUR winner from outside the United States since England-born ‘Lighthorse’ Harry Cooper (19 years, 4 days old) won the Galveston Open… in 1923!
  • Kim’s win in Greensboro made him the youngest winner in the history of the Wyndham Championship, which goes all the way back to the 1930s. The previous record was held by Seve Ballesteros, who also won the Wyndham at age 20 in 1978, but was about 10 months older than Kim.
  • Kim’s first PGA TOUR victory was especially improbable given his quadruple bogey on the opening hole. He was the first player in the 40 years of hole-by-hole tracking to win a PGA TOUR event with a quad or worse on the first hole of a tournament. Even more amazing, Kim won the tournament by five shots.

Before Kim, the last player to win a PGA TOUR event by five or more despite carding a quad or worse was David Graham at the 1983 Houston Open. Graham made a quadruple-bogey 9 on the opening hole of the third round, but a Sunday 64 pushed him to a five-shot victory. Since 2000, 29 players have won on the PGA TOUR despite making a triple bogey or worse. Only two won the tournament by five strokes or more: Kim in Greensboro, and Tiger Woods in his epic, 15-shot romp at the 2000 U.S. Open.



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