LAS VEGAS — It might not be the putt heard ’round the world, but Tom Kim’s clinching putt on Saturday at the 2022 Presidents Cup and ensuing celebration was the definitive highlight of the week, despite Kim’s International squad loss.
Kim had already burst onto the golf scene with his Wyndham Championship win two months ago but it was his performance—and youthful exuberance—than won over the hearts and minds of golf fans.
To reset the stage, Kim had teamed up with Si Woo Kim for their afternoon match against the previously undefeated pairing of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele. On 18, Kim poured in a 10-footer for birdie, walking off the putt before it even dropped and then celebrating with his teammates.
— Presidents Cup (@PresidentsCup) September 25, 2022
The highlight made an impression on everyone watching. It also made for a great memory for Kim.
“I can remember every single moment of me walking up to that green and looking at that putt, seeing my whole team there,” Kim said Wednesday ahead of the Shriners Children’s Open, his third PGA Tour start since winning the Wyndham. “I was just looking down and thinking to myself that ‘Man, I want this putt to go in more than anything in the world’, because I’m just not playing for myself, I’m playing for everyone on that team.”
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The prognosticators pegged the U.S. team as heavy favorites and after the first two days, the Americans led 8-2. But Saturday brought an International surge.
“With where we were at on Saturday, knowing that one, two points is just a huge difference, and once I hit that putt. … I was putting so well that all I needed to do was just have the right speed on it,” Kim said.
“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was going to go in.”
So has he gone back to watch the video?
“I’ve watched it a lot of times,” Kim said, smiling. “I still watch it sometimes because it gives me motivation.
“The funny thing is PGA Tour did like a five-minute video thing on YouTube. They had the whole routine and everything. But what’s funny is that after that video finishes, Max [Homa] goes and says, ‘Subscribe here and like here’, and I wish I would have turned it off because I’m still kind of angered at losing to Max.”
Homa is also competing in the Shriners Children’s Open this week and had high praise for the 20-year-old Kim. The two had a memorable Sunday singles match at Quail Hollow.
“Tom is obviously a rock star,” Homa said. “I think first and foremost, he’s an amazingly nice person. I’ve listened to him on podcasts as of late, and he’s great. He’s got like that fresh outlook on the game of golf, which is cool. He’s 20 years old, so that’s amazing to even be out here.
“To be able to qualify for the Presidents Cup at that age is crazy to me. He played awesome all week. He was the catalyst of the team I felt like. His emotion was cool.”
Fellow Korean and Presidents Cup teammate Sungjae Im, in Vegas to defend his title, said Kim has “great potential to become a big star. I’m glad he’s doing well. I’m happy as a competitor, as a friend. Him doing well motivates me to do well, and likewise the other way. I think we’re going to have some good competition and good friendship.”
As far as this week, Kim says he thinks the TPC Summerlin golf course fits his game.
“I think it’s a great golf course for me. It’s a great setup. I really like the way it’s designed and it kind of suits my eye a little bit. I’m really excited to be here.
“I was actually here last year in Vegas. I didn’t play this event, but I was here during that week, and I remember I wanted to play, and I’m excited to finally be able to play here this week.”