Tom Kim hoping for weekend Tiger pairing: It’s special that he’s back

Ronan MacNamara

Tom Kim (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Tom Kim says Tiger’s presence around Riviera this week has already brought a special spark to the Genesis Invitational with thousands of people pouring in just to get a glimpse of him in practice.

Kim was speaking ahead of the third elevated PGA Tour event of the season and although he is the new kid on the block, he was starstruck by Tiger’s presence on the practice range.

The 20-year-old grew up idolising Tiger and he hopes both players can put themselves into a position where they get a weekend tee time together.


“It’s pretty special for me. Obviously once I got on tour he wasn’t playing much, so the opportunity to be kind of in the same field again is really cool. I was on the range yesterday and there was literally thousands of people around one player. I was like, I wonder who that is. I looked over and it was Tiger. I was like oh, OK, sweet.

“It kind of brings back the atmosphere of, Tiger’s back, and it brings a lot of great things for the PGA TOUR and for us players. I mean, even I as a player, we all enjoy watching Tiger play. It’s kind of great for us that he’s back.

“Hopefully I’ll have a chance to play with him on the weekend.”

Kim has risen to stardom quite rapidly. Last year’s Asian Tour Order Of Merit winner, the Korean hasn’t wasted any time in bursting onto the scene.

Kim stole the show at the Presidents Cup and last October became the first golfer since Tiger Woods to notch two PGA Tour wins before the age of 21 and with his 21st birthday not until June of this year, there is time for him to rack up more wins.

“Special, very, very special. There’s not a lot of record — well, obviously Tiger has a lot of records, but I feel like it’s really hard to have an accomplishment near Tiger’s name because if your name’s near it, it means you’ve done something pretty special,” says Kim.

“That for me just starting out for my career and to do that right away, it’s a special thing for my heart. I’m very grateful for it, but I’d like to have a lot more next to his name, but one day when I do retire, I’d have a pretty good career if I’m kind of near him.”

Although not in a grouping with the 15-time major champion, Kim has been placed in a tasty group alongside Max Homa and Xander Schauffele.

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