Presidents Cup 2022: Tom Kim emerges as a breakout star after plunging an international team into the competition

The international team won Saturday’s sessions at Quail Hollow Golf Club with Tom Kim taking the win of the week. Despite trailing 2-8 in eight games in Day 3 of the 2022 Presidents Cup, Kim was making putts all over the Americans and dragging his team back into a contest that seemed completely lost. The 20-year-old star introduced himself to the rest of the world.

In the morning foursome, Kim and KH Lee defeated world Nos. 1 and 12 Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns. Although the Americans led at the turn, Kim made an ugly eagle on the par 4 11th, which he hit as hard as anyone has putt at a team event in team event history. The Lee-Kim duo never fell behind after that, winning 2 and 1.

The afternoon was even better – as if that were even possible. Kim teamed up with Si Woo Kim and they faced off in four-ball against the seemingly invincible duo of Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele. Kim again overplayed the par-4 11th with a monster putt, but it looked like Cantlay and Schauffele would be able to parry it and secure at least a half point.

After Si Woo birdied the 16th to tie it, teams remained deadlocked until the last. Kim hit the 2 iron of his life at 10 feet. He followed the putt for a long time, no doubt wondering if he had anything left in his holster after a day of celebration. He hit the birdie putt that would win a full point against Cantlay and Schauffele, but he never saw it go in.

Kim yelled “Let’s go!” one last time towards an international side, who chewed on the bite to stack it on the green. It was the perfect exclamation point for one of the big unique days for an international player in Presidents Cup history.

What’s become clear over the week is how desperate Kim is to embrace the moment. You could almost watch him formulate celebrations in his head as he walked to and around the greens of Quail Hollow, and he was stunned to take on the titanic duo of Cantlay and Schauffele.

“[I] 100% [wanted that moment]’ Kim said after the games. ‘In the back of my mind I was like, ‘What am I going to do, how am I going to celebrate?’ … It was an incredible feeling that that went in because the team was lagging behind and watching. I wanted it more than anything in the world.”

Rick Gehman and Greg DuCharme recap Saturday’s action at the 2022 Presidents Cup. Follow and listen to The First Cut Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

The 20-year-old became the first golfer born in the 2000s to win a PGA Tour event when he won the Wyndham Championship just over a month ago, but his legend grew long before that. His first name isn’t Tom Kim, it’s more like it Joohyung Kim, although he started calling himself Tom because he had a Thomas the Tank Engine lunch box as a kid.

He’s an easy player to cheer for. A self-proclaimed fast food scholar, he was voted by his teammates as the player to eat the most in the team room at Quail Hollow this week, and then he proved it by sharing two pairs of pants earlier in the week. He celebrates like it’s both the first and last time he’ll ever have the opportunity. He is, in a sometimes joyless quest, an absolute revelation. Nothing is quite as fun as watching a golfer rejoice (and thrive) on their first team experience like Tom Kim did.

Whether he’ll ever become the global superstar that others have predicted remains to be seen, but one thing is certain after Saturday’s show: if the trophy comes to an end late in the day on Sunday, when Kim plays Max Homa in the 10th singles game, then it will is it. No one else would want the International out there. Kim proved that on Saturday. And you know what? I’m not sure if there’s anyone else we’d rather watch. Presidents Cup 2022: Tom Kim emerges as a breakout star after plunging an international team into the competition

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