Kim Joo-hyung, 21, is making his first appearance at the Tour Championship, the season finale of the U.S. Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour, and vows to play with no regrets, saying he wants to “give it my all.”
“It’s a tournament with 30 of the best golfers in the world,” Kim said in a video interview with reporters two days before the start of the Tour Championship. I’ve seen a lot of them on TV, and I think the course will suit me well, so I’m looking forward to it.”
Kim will compete in the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, starting on the 24th.
The Tour Championship is the third and final stop in the FedExCup Playoffs that conclude the PGA Tour’s season, with only the top 30 players in the FedExCup points standings, which are based on a player’s season’s performance heading into the second round, the BMW Championship.
After competing on the PGA Tour as a special provisional member, Kim won the Wyndham Championship last August to officially join the Tour, advancing to the second round of the playoffs for the 2021-2022 season.
He was 34th in the FedExCup standings after the second round and missed out on the Tour Championship.
This season, after winning his second career PGA Tour title at the Shriners Hospitality Open in October, Kim racked up eight top-10 finishes and finished 16th in the FedExCup standings, the highest of any South Korean player, leading up to the BMW Championship.
“I’d like to give myself a season score of ’20’ because I haven’t won anything this year, but I’ve matured and gained good experience, so I think it’s more like 50 or 60 points,” Kim said.
Compared to himself a year ago, he said, “There is a big difference in mindset when playing. I learn a lot about life as well as golf,” he said. “Technically, my ball speed has increased a lot and my swing timing is different. “Technically, my ball speed has increased, my swing timing has changed, and my body has improved because I’ve been working out a lot, and my short game has improved,” he said, describing himself as a “completely different player.
Even though he has been playing golf in various countries since he was a kid, adjusting to the PGA Tour, the world’s biggest stage, was a challenge.
“It’s actually my first season on the PGA Tour, so there are a lot of courses that I don’t know, so adjusting to the courses was the hardest part,” he said. “Other players might be going to the same course for the 10th time, so they might feel comfortable in the same place, but I had a lot to learn,” he explained.
“I’m sure the other players have gone through the same experience, so I think it’s something that I have to go through,” he said with a smile.
Known for his fluency in English and friendliness, Kim said he quickly made friends with world-class players, including current world No. 1 and No. 2 Scottie Shaffler (USA) and Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland), and found them helpful.
“When things weren’t going well and I was struggling mentally, I would ask them and they would say, ‘You’re young, you’re good enough. You’re young, you’re good enough, you’re going to get there,’ and they said a lot of good things,” he said. “It was a big boost, and it made me believe in myself.”
As for his “best moment of the season,” he cited last month’s Major Open, where he finished runner-up despite suffering from an ankle injury.
“Before that, I was stressed because I wasn’t performing as well as I wanted to, but finishing second at a major gave me a chance to relax and think positively,” Kim said.
His biggest disappointment, however, was the Masters in April, where he finished tied for 16th.
“I’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, so I tried a lot, but I think I was inexperienced because it was my first time competing,” he said. “Now that I’ve done it, I’ll try to do better next year,” he smiled.
The injury hasn’t completely disappeared yet, so his ankle still feels stiff 사설토토 when he walks a lot or practices for a long time, but the Tour Championship is a big motivator for him.
“No matter how well you play during the year, if you don’t make it to the playoffs, it’s a disappointing end,” Kim said. “I’m in good shape and my confidence has increased since the Open, so I’m going to play with a relaxed mindset.”
“After the injury, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to play in the playoffs, but it’s not too bad, so I’m happy to be able to play,” he said, adding, “I’m doing well with the icing and treatment, and I’m trying to keep it under control.”
The Tour Championship will feature a “bonus shot” based on the current FedExCup standings, meaning players will start the tournament with a different number of shots. Schauffler, the FedExCup leader, starts at 10-under, while Kim starts at 2-under.
“I’m eight shots off the lead and there are a lot of great players in the field, but nothing is impossible, so if I can hit the ball without getting sick, I think I have a chance,” Kim said, adding, “It’s the last tournament of the season, so I’ll do my best with all my heart.”