History was made at the 2017 Players Championship in Vedra Beach, Florida as 21 year old Si Woo Kim of South Korea became the youngest winner of The Players Championship in history. He is also the second player from South Korea to win The Players Championship, joining K.J. Choi in 2011.
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With players like Dustin Johnson, Sergio Garcia, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Phil Mickelson, who knew Si Woo Kim would make history and become the youngest player on the PGA Tour wot win the Players Championship.
Even Kim himself sounded stunned at what he had just done.
On a TPC Sawgrass course where anything can go wrong without notice, Kim whom had struggled this season with seven missed cuts and four withdrawals, was the only player to go bogey-free Sunday and closed with a 3-under 69 for a three-shot victory in golf’s biggest tournament this side of the majors.
“I still can’t believe I’m the champion, and I’m the youngest champion,” Kim said. “I’m looking forward to working hard from now on.”
Just over four years ago, Kim came over to America to play the final version of PGA Tour’s qualifying school. He earned a card at age 17, but he could not become a PGA Tour member until he turned 18 the following June. That card effectively went to waste, and Kim spent the next two years on the developmental tour until earning his card back to the big leagues.
Poulter, who only two weeks ago was spared his full PGA Tour status because of a clerical oversight, was the only player to seriously challenge Kim until he ran out of holes. He took a penalty drop at the 18th hole, then hit wedge over the trees and nearly holed it, tapping in for par. Poulter closed with a 71 tying him for second with Louis Oosthuizen (73).
J.B. Holmes at the start of the day was tied for lead, but things got ugly when he boggied at 14th and 15th holes, and then a quintuple=bogey 8 on the 17th. He finished with a double bogey to close with an 84. It was the worst finish by a 54-hole leader in tournament history.
Sergio Garcia, reigning Masters Champion and leading money winner in Players Championship history was looking rusty in his opening round when he started four over through six holes. Despite making the eighth ace at the 17th hole in Players History, Garcia finished with a 78.
Defending champion Jason Day closed with an 80 and Rickie Fowler, 2015 champion, closed with a 79.
Shot of the Day
Rafael Cabrera Bello pulled off the shot of the day on Sunday at TPC Sawgrass with the first ever albatross on the 16th hole and just the third in Players History! It moved him to five under for the tournament, his best finish of the year.
Check out the shot below:
So what’s next for Si Woo Kim?
Si Woo Kim announced in a statement that he will not be playing this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson to rest his sore back.
“After consulting with my team last night and this morning, I have decided to withdraw from this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson. On Saturday night at THE PLAYERS, my back began to flare up. On Sunday when I arrived, I received treatment from a physio on the putting green that helped me get through the round, and fortunately, win the tournament. Having dealt with that the last two days, I feel it is best for me to take precautionary measures to ensure I can practice and compete fully healthy for the rest of the season. I’m disappointed not to play this week, as the AT&T Byron Nelson is in my adopted hometown, but look forward to playing the event in the future. I wish AT&T and the Salesmanship Club of Dallas all the best for a successful week.”
Like all Korean players, Kim will eventually have to put golf on hold in order to fulfill his obligation to his country and serve military service. It’s a requirement of all Korean players.
Although he doesn’t know when he’ll be leaving, he said in a quote, “Regardless of me winning this tournament, I really have to go to the military service, and I’ve already decided I’m going to go, too, so I’m ready for that.”
This victory gave Kim a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour and a three-year exemption to the Masters.
Five things to know about Si Woo Kim
- He turned pro in 2012, yet he’s still just 21 years old (he turns 22 on June 28). He won his first Web.com tour event in 2015 (the Cleveland Open) to become the tour’s second-youngest winner in its history.
- He finished 10th on the Web.com tour money list in 2015, but his biggest year was 2016, when he played 34 PGA Tour events and won the Wyndham Championship. He lapped the field, finishing 21 under and beating runner-up Luke Donald by five strokes. Kim earned $1 million for his victory.
- Kim, who jumped from 75th to 28th in the OWGR after his victory Sunday, also had a runner-up finish in 2016 at the Barbasol Championship. He had five Top 10s overall and earned just over $3 million.
- He’s made two appearances in majors (and will now have lots more now). He was cut at both the 2016 PGA Championship and 2017 Masters (75-81).
- He hit driver from the rough on Saturday, and everyone loved it.