Michael Kim annihilated the field Sunday at The John Deere Classic, finishing at 27-under par and eight strokes ahead of his nearest competitors. His win not only vaulted him from 161st to 56th in the FedEx Cup rankings but also earned him the 156th and final spot in The Open Championship this week at Carnoustie.
The PGA Tour is usually only a dream for most golfers, but Kim made that dream more of a reality on Sunday when hoisted the trophy like the golf heroes he used to admire on television growing up.
“Yeah, I started playing when I was eight years old, watching Tiger win all those tournaments,” Kim said. “You know, you say you dream about playing on the PGA TOUR, winning on the PGA TOUR, but as a kid, you don’t really know how hard that is, how much work that takes.
“But to be sitting here with the trophy, I don’t know, I’m just at a loss for words. I think I made the right career choice.”
Zach Johnson, who shares a management agency and trainer with Kim was quoted as saying, “He’s very, very, very good.”
While many thought this first win would come much sooner, that was just not meant to be as Kim struggled greatly over the past year, especially with his driver. After a coaching switch, things really started to click.
“I wasn’t real familiar with his game or anything, but what was related to me was that the driver was killing him,” said his new coach, John Tillery. “He mostly had a big right miss. He had some inefficiencies there, but we’ve started to address those and he’s obviously gained some confidence from seeing the ball go where he’s looking. He’s got the pedigree.
“We’re just starting…He’s got a lot more gas than he showed even this week.”
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Driver: Titleist TS2 (Aldila Rogue Black 60X), 10.5 degrees
3-wood: Titleist 917F2, 16.5 degrees
Hybrid: Titleist 816H1, 21 degrees
Irons (4): Titleist 716 T-MB; (5-PW): Titleist 718 AP2
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52, 56, 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron by Titleist GSS 350
What a week for @Mike_Kim714.
What a way to get your first win.
— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) July 16, 2018