Sungjae Im Needs a Break and Some Time Away from PGA Tour

If there’s a PGA Tour event being played, the odds are that Sungjae Im will be in the field. That is the case again this week as Im teed it up at the 2021 Palmetto Championship beginning on Thursday.

This is the 38th tournament so far this season on the PGA Tour. A player could have made a maximum of 36 starts due to tournaments that take place at the same time.

At this point in the season, most players have made something around 20 starts on tour. The “grinders”, those guys who seem to play all the time, may have 23 or 24 starts at this point.

Im is making his 27th start this week in South Carolina. If that seems like a lot, it is. Im leads the tour in starts, going one ahead of Tom Hoge this week.

And it’s not just starts. Im also leads the tour in rounds played with 87, after Thursday’s round at Congaree. That’s five more rounds than Corey Conners, who is second on the list with 82 starts.

All of this is to say that Im plays A LOT. That’s obvious. But what also seems obvious is that Im’s game is suffering.

He started the season very well. In his first 20 starts of the season, Im had two top five finishes, four Top 10s and nine Top 25s. He tied for second, behind Dustin Johnson, at the November Masters. He tied for fifth at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in January.

However, his results lately have looked like those of a player who is tired. Im has missed the cut in three of his last four tournaments and in four of his last six events, including his last two.

He started the Palmetto with a largely uninspired round. Im made 13 pars in his round. He had one birdie, three bogeys and a double bogey. It all added up to a 4-over par round of 75. Im finds himself out of position this week and unlikely to make the cut.

Im will definitely play in the U.S. Open next week, as he should. But after that, he might want to take some time off and get some rest in preparation for the Open Championship and the FedEx Cup playoffs. If he doesn’t, his results will continue to suffer.