Jordan Spieth knows Tom Kim. After all, it wasn’t too long ago that Jordan Spieth was Tom Kim.
It’s easy to forget that Spieth is only a few years removed from filling the role of the brazen, daring, do-everything phenom. The three-time major champ has now aged well beyond those blazing first few years, blossoming into a picture of adulthood (with wife and baby in tow). And into the vacuum created by Spieth’s adulthood has stepped Kim, a not-yet-drinking-aged superstar in the making.
After his first few PGA Tour victories in the fall, Kim has vaulted into the international spotlight, earning an endorsement deal from Nike, the attention of his fellow pros, and, it seems, a friendship with a kindred spirit.
The two golfers first earned an audience at the Presidents Cup in September, where Kim announced his presence to the golf world with a fist-pumping, chest-thumping performance. On Wednesday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, Kim told reporters that he and Spieth stayed in touch throughout the fall season, growing closer as the year ended.
“The more time I spent with Jordan just we kind of came closer friends,” Kim said on Wednesday at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. “I think we shared a plane back from Hero back to Dallas, so I took the Jordan air.”
As the holidays neared, Spieth learned Kim was scheduled to be alone on Christmas, so he gave his young friend a call.
“He was really nice enough to invite me for Christmas,” Kim said. “My family wasn’t home and I was kind of by myself.”
Kim quickly said yes, even though the invitation came with a string attached.
“I got to spend some time with the Spieths and kind of babysit Sammy, which was really cool,” he said. “But, yeah, it’s been amazing to kind of build a friendship and it was really cool to play with him today.”
And so Kim spent Christmas with the Spieths, oscillating between his roles as family friend and newly hired au pair.
“Oh, my God, Sammy’s amazing. He’s the most wonderful little boy I think I’ve ever met,” Kim said. “He’s just absolutely amazing. So definitely I’ve seen a lot of kids, but he definitely makes it a lot easier.”
Holiday wholesomeness aside, it’s not hard to see how the two golfers have grown close. At a core level, they’re similar — both as two of golf’s most recent “chosen ones,” but also as two of its most self-effacing personalities.
Those traits make for good friendship, yes, but is it too early to hope they also make for an entertaining rivalry?
“Does Jordan still like me? I hope so,” Kim said with a laugh. “I think we’re playing together on Thursday, so hopefully he talks to me when we play.”