Every shot makes somebody happy is the old golf phrase, and the defections by several former PGA Tour players to LIV gave new golfers a chance to shine at this year’s Presidents Cup.
We know more about them now, and, honestly, we like what we see. Consider these new stars in the making.
The one who shined brightest at last weekend’s Presidents Cup was Tom (Joohyung) Kim.
He fist-pumped harder than Tiger Woods and according to those who heard it, actually screamed after making some important putts. This guy has game, passion, and talent.
Years ago, Kim renamed himself, Tom, after “Thomas the Tank Engine,” a children’s cartoon show, because he used to love watching it when he was younger.
“I had the whole thing. I had the lunchbox, I had the toys,” he told golf writer Bernie McGuire two years ago. “I think by the time I was like 11, I went just by Tom.
His play also became an inspiration to other golfers, including Rory McIlroy at the recent Tour Championship.
Kim, you’ll recall, had started the Wyndham Championship with a quadruple bogey and was still able to win the tournament. He had only played 13 events on the PGA Tour before finding the winner’s circle.
Tom Kim may also be the reason we heard Si Woo Kim give an interview in English during the Presidents Cup. That was a surprise as well. He did a passable job in a new language, giving a little insight into the “Two Kims” as they were called.
“I was happy for, like, Korean teammate,” Si Woo Kim said after they finished one of their rounds.
"“Then he had every day pumped. So, I got more motivation because he’s got a lot of energy. And then everything’s playing confidence.”"
Tom Kim brought energy and passion to the 2022 Presidents Cup
Tom Kim’s energy was also helpful to the team between rounds according to Si Woo and others.
“Tom’s like the Energizer bunny, just keeps going.” teammate K.H. Lee said about him. “Although he’s a star already, I think he’s going to be a superstar soon.”
But there are others whose names we have perhaps seen on leaderboards here and there but had not really seen play.
Cameron Davis, for instance, is just getting his career going in the U.S. He was thrilled to be partnering with Adam Scott during the Presidents Cup.
Davis worked his way to the PGA Tour via Korn Ferry Tour. He has just finished his third full season as a PGA Tour member.
"“This is a dream come true to be in this scenario for me. I don’t want Adam to feel old or anything, but he’s been a childhood hero of mine really right from when I started to take golf seriously.”"
Cam Davis said after Saturday’s rounds were completed.
"“To play great golf alongside him is even better. I just, you know, can’t imagine — well, it was hard to imagine myself being in these shoes right now, and I’m loving every minute of it, because it’s been absolutely awesome.”"
The Presidents Cup competition was the equivalent of throwing him into the deep end of the pool right away.
On Saturday, when he was paired with Scott, he finished eagle-birdie-birdie. On Sunday, he was up on Jordan Spieth for the first nine holes, until Spieth started working his magic. Still, Davis gave glimpses of who he might become.
Canadian Taylor Pendrith who has been on leaderboards from time to time this season also showed he has game. His best finishes last season were a T2 at the Wyndham and T5 at the Butterfield Bermuda tournament. What’s impressive is that it is his first full season on the PGA Tour.
Sebastian Munoz is in his fifth season on the PGA Tour. He’s a native of Columbia and attended the University of North Texas, graduating with a degree in business administration and entrepreneurship.
Munoz already has one victory on the PGA Tour. When you watch him swing, you’ll notice he has an amazing swing speed.
“It’s an awesome feeling, being out here representing team international with these studs,” Munoz said about participating in the Presidents Cup.
"“It’s a great feeling knowing you can just go out, play your best, don’t be shy and embrace it.”"
And finally, a potential superstar in the making is Sam Burns. He hits it a long way and he makes a lot of putts when it counts. We don’t want to say the kid is good, but he made an 80-foot putt and several others from another zip code. Impressive.
So, while some lament what the LIV defections did to both teams, we need to embrace these new players and celebrate the talent they bring.