Gq Tom Kim 0370 Golf Could Use A New Superstar

The 20-year-old golfer Tom Kim doesn’t get fazed much anymore. Kim has been playing professionally since he was 15, secured full-time status on the PGA Tour with two season-ending victories last year, and has quickly become a friend of top players like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Max Homa. But in early March, he had a rare pinch-me moment. 

Ahead of his first appearance in the Masters, which begins tomorrow, Kim headed to Augusta National Golf Club to practice on the legendary track. Halfway through his round, he ran into Rory McIlroy, who had brought his father along for his own round at Augusta. Kim said hello to his fellow PGA Tour pro, whom he’d only met briefly at tournaments over the past year, and to McIlroy’s father. Tom was then introduced to the McIlroys’ other playing partner: recently retired quarterback Tom Brady. It was a surreal moment in a two-year whirlwind full of them. “It was unbelievable,” Kim says, “even though I’m not sure he knew who I was.” And then, with a chuckle, he adds: “But then again, I didn’t ask.” 

Can Tom Kim Be Golf'S Next Great Young Star

Still, it wouldn’t be crazy if Brady had recognized him: over the past eight months, Kim has exploded onto the golf scene, a blistering start to his career that has golf commentators drawing comparisons to figures like like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and, yes, Tiger Woods. He’s ridden unparalleled iron play and a hot putter to two exciting victories and six top-10 finishes—and he’s celebrated his high points with a Gen Z flair that plays big on Golf Twitter. If all goes right, he just might become the biggest young star of his generation. “Both of those wins were just out of the blue,” Kim says. But “after that moment, the confidence really began to hit and I really started feeling comfortable.”

His biggest moment yet came at last year’s President’s Cup, the high-wattage tournament that pits a team of American golfers against one of international players. Kim, the youngest player in the event by half a decade, stole the show by hitting a match-deciding putt with his entire team watching during Saturday’s matches. As the putt dropped, he yanked off his hat and sprinted across the green to his teammates, an unerasable smile on his face.

Most striking has been the way he’s done it all: with rare self-confidence, verve, and style. He’s unafraid to let his personality shine, like the time he and Sungjae Im tried sinking putts with 25-pound putters. During the Waste Management Open in Scottsdale, Arizona—notoriously the rowdiest event of the year—Kim rocked a Devin Booker jersey, putting on for the hometown crowd’s favorite NBA star. He has a 20-year-old’s appreciation for fast food. “I don’t put a mask on and I think that comes across in the way I play,” Kim explains. “I have no problem showing everybody exactly who I am.” 

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Gq Tom Kim 0370 Golf Could Use A New Superstar

The 20-year-old golfer Tom Kim doesn’t get fazed much anymore. Kim has been playing professionally since he was 15, secured full-time status on the PGA Tour with two season-ending victories last year, and has quickly become a friend of top players like Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, and Max Homa. But in early March, he had a rare pinch-me moment. 

Ahead of his first appearance in the Masters, which begins tomorrow, Kim headed to Augusta National Golf Club to practice on the legendary track. Halfway through his round, he ran into Rory McIlroy, who had brought his father along for his own round at Augusta. Kim said hello to his fellow PGA Tour pro, whom he’d only met briefly at tournaments over the past year, and to McIlroy’s father. Tom was then introduced to the McIlroys’ other playing partner: recently retired quarterback Tom Brady. It was a surreal moment in a two-year whirlwind full of them. “It was unbelievable,” Kim says, “even though I’m not sure he knew who I was.” And then, with a chuckle, he adds: “But then again, I didn’t ask.” 

Can Tom Kim Be Golf'S Next Great Young Star

Still, it wouldn’t be crazy if Brady had recognized him: over the past eight months, Kim has exploded onto the golf scene, a blistering start to his career that has golf commentators drawing comparisons to figures like like Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and, yes, Tiger Woods. He’s ridden unparalleled iron play and a hot putter to two exciting victories and six top-10 finishes—and he’s celebrated his high points with a Gen Z flair that plays big on Golf Twitter. If all goes right, he just might become the biggest young star of his generation. “Both of those wins were just out of the blue,” Kim says. But “after that moment, the confidence really began to hit and I really started feeling comfortable.”

His biggest moment yet came at last year’s President’s Cup, the high-wattage tournament that pits a team of American golfers against one of international players. Kim, the youngest player in the event by half a decade, stole the show by hitting a match-deciding putt with his entire team watching during Saturday’s matches. As the putt dropped, he yanked off his hat and sprinted across the green to his teammates, an unerasable smile on his face.

Most striking has been the way he’s done it all: with rare self-confidence, verve, and style. He’s unafraid to let his personality shine, like the time he and Sungjae Im tried sinking putts with 25-pound putters. During the Waste Management Open in Scottsdale, Arizona—notoriously the rowdiest event of the year—Kim rocked a Devin Booker jersey, putting on for the hometown crowd’s favorite NBA star. He has a 20-year-old’s appreciation for fast food. “I don’t put a mask on and I think that comes across in the way I play,” Kim explains. “I have no problem showing everybody exactly who I am.”