Why PGA Tour phenom Joohyung Kim adopted the name ‘Tom’ and how it was almost ‘Buzz’

Just call me Tom.

That’s what South Korea’s newest PGA Tour champion prefers to be called, rather than his given name of Joohyung Kim. As the 20-year-old winner of the Wyndham Championship said in his post-round press conference, he came up with the name when he was 4 or 5 years old after his fondness for the TV show Thomas the Tank Engine, based on the famed British children’s book. As he explained in an earlier interview, “I had the whole (Thomas the Train) thing, I had the lunchbox, I had the toys, yeah.”

“It’s just a stubborn me, like you’re supposed to let your parents name yourself and I was like, ‘Nope, I’m to name myself Thomas,’” he said in his winner’s press conference. “I loved the show as a kid…apparently I really loved the train. I was like, you know what, I’m going to name myself Thomas. I haven’t told anyone this, but I’ve actually had a few more names that I could have named myself and I’m glad I didn’t, but I went with Thomas. And as years went on, people started calling me Tom, it was shorter, so I kind of went with Tom after that.”

That begged the question: what were the other names he considered?

“Do you guys really want to know?” he asked. “I was a big Toy Story fan, so I almost named myself Buzz Lightyear. That was a close one; there’s a few more. It’s actually, it’s not an English character, it’s actually an Asian character, but Buzz Lightyear was probably the closest one to Thomas.”

On Sunday, Kim both buzzed and steamrolled the field, shooting 9-under 61 at Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, North Carolina, to win going away by five strokes.

“For people to call, ‘Let’s Go, Tom’ today was really helpful and it gave me the energy to keep playing better,” he said.

To borrow the nickname of another Tom, maybe we should start calling him Tom Terrific.