In 2022, when fledgling PGA Tour superstar Tom Kim won the Shriners Children’s Open he was 20. In 2023, when Kim defended his title at TPC Summerlin, he was 21. The one-year gap is a big deal, especially in a city like Las Vegas. The celebration would be epic … right? –By Brian Hurlburt, founder, LasVegasGolfInsider.com
“I was actually thinking about this last night because if I won, I knew I was going to get this question,” Kim said when I asked THE question. “I was going to take the red eye — but I’m not going to take the red eye now that I won. I’m going to go at 6:30 a.m. in the morning. Tonight, I’m going to go back to the hotel and I’m going to finish a piece of chocolate that I have wanted to finish. Then I’m going to order room service and I’m going to go to bed, then I’m going to wake up at 3:00 and take my 6:30 a.m. flight. I can’t wait to finish that chocolate. I’ve wanted to finish it so bad. I brought it from a trip from Europe. It’s a Ferrero Rocher white chocolate. It’s great. Like I’ve saved it, and it’s going to taste so good tonight.”
Go crazy, Tom!
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The second win at the Shriners was the third win of his career, but his first chance to defend a title. Earlier this year, he missed the Wyndham Championship due to injury. He wasn’t going to miss the Shriners Children’s Open and a chance to go back-to-back.
“It was so hard for me– the week of Wyndham, to just be at home,” Kim said. “It was so hard for me to just sit on my couch and not really be able to do anything. It was very frustrating personally as a player because it was my first win, and I was so determined to come back to Shriners at least being healthy and at least have a chance to win as a defending champion. Winning this week is just making me miss that Wyndham week even more, my first win. Not to have even a chance to compete out there, as a player, it’s hard. Obviously, this win is dedicated to the people here but I also want to dedicate it to the people at Wyndham. Just to not be there, it’s very frustrating as a player.”
Kim fired a sweet 62 on Saturday in the 2023 to vault up the Shriners leaderboard to put him in position. He fired a smooth 67 on Sunday to finish at -20 overall and defeat Adam Hadwin by a shot.
Now, Kim possibly has a new home away from home in Summerlin and the famed TPC Summerlin.
“I’m not a really big fancy loud type of guy, so when I come to Vegas, I don’t really like going to the Strip, so I stay five minutes from the course where it’s really quiet and it’s really nice,” Kim said. “Back-to-back is great, so Summerlin and I are bonded very well. Hopefully it’s nice to me again next year, as well. I love Summerlin, and I hope it loves me again next year.”