Tom Kim describes his unique walk to the 1st tee for his Presidents Cup singles match

The last few months have been quite a ride for Tom Kim, let alone the last two weeks.

It was only six months ago that Kim, a 20-year-old born in South Korea, had no status on the PGA Tour. He accepted Special Temporary Membership after the Open Championship, and then won the Wyndham Championship in August, securing his Tour card through 2024 and earning a berth in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, where he made it to the BMW Championship.

Kim is now ranked 22nd in the world, and became a breakout star at the Presidents Cup last week, where he won hearts on both sides of the equator with his infectious enthusiasm and clutch play, ultimately finishing with a 2-3-0 record.

On this week’s episode of Subpar, Kim described what it was like to approach the 1st tee on Sunday for his singles match with Max Homa — complete with shades featuring the International team logo! — to hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz.

tom kim swings iron presidents cup
After turning away LIV, Tom Kim is quickly becoming a PGA Tour superstar
By: James Colgan

“It was definitely special,” Kim began. “I brought the shades because, I was like, man, I gotta bring something new today. What’s gonna be new, what’s gonna be fresh? I thought of just wearing the glasses, going up the cabin. There was a lot of fans that go underneath the cabin. So, I wanted to see that. Damn, Tom’s bringing something new today. And Camilo [Villegas] was like, you should wear these on the first tee. It’s gonna be fun. And I was like, you’re right, that’s a good idea.”

After a last-minute search for the glasses before Kim’s tee time, they emerged, and it was showtime.

“I put them on and everyone went nuts,” he said. “I thought it was definitely something that I might look forward to doing it again. Especially on Sunday. It’s kind of a different vibe for a singles match. I wanted the American crowd on the 1st tee to just kinda like me a little bit.”

Mission accomplished, Tom.

For more from Kim, including what it was like to attend his first party(!), check out the video below.

jessica marksbury

Golf.com Photographer

As a four-year member of Columbia’s inaugural class of female varsity golfers, Jessica can out-birdie everyone on the masthead. She can out-hustle them in the office, too, where she’s primarily responsible for producing both print and online features, and overseeing major special projects, such as GOLF’s inaugural Style Is­sue, which debuted in February 2018. Her origi­nal interview series, “A Round With,” debuted in November of 2015, and appeared in both in the magazine and in video form on GOLF.com.