PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. — Si Woo Kim first earned his PGA Tour card when he finished tied for 20th at Q School in 2012. There was only one problem. He was too young to play on tour.
No, seriously. The PGA Tour’s minimum age limit is 18, a rule that was established after Ty Tryon and Kevin Na turned pro as 17-year-olds in 2001. As a result, Kim, who was 17 years and five months at the time, had to defer starting his PGA Tour career until he turned 18 the following summer.
Kim wound up getting only six starts as an official PGA Tour member in 2013, missing the cut in all six and winding up on the Web.com Tour. The South Korean played there in 2014 and 2015, re-earning his card thanks to becoming the second-youngest winner on the developmental circuit at the 2015 Stonebrae Classic. The youngest Web.com winner ever? Jason Day, the man who handed Kim that crystal trophy on Sunday evening after he became the youngest golfer to win the Players at 21.
“I feel like I’m still dreaming,” Kim said after firing a bogey-free 69 in the final round at TPC Sawgrass. “I never expected that I’m going to win this tournament and I wasn’t doing that well at the beginning of this year, but I’m just so excited that I could be the champion for this tournament.”
Kim’s previous best finish in 2017 was a T-22 at the Valero Texas Open last month and he arrived at TPC Sawgrass with six missed cuts and three WDs in 15 starts since January. But he did pick up his first PGA Tour title at the Wyndham Championship last August less than two months after turning 21. And he did earn his PGA Tour card for the first time when he was 17. And now, only Tiger Woods, Sergio Garcia and Jordan Spieth have won two PGA Tour titles at a younger age in the past 25 years.
In other words, Si Woo Kim is a bona fide golf phenom. We probably shouldn’t have seen this type of performance coming from him this week, but we should have expected it at some point.