Inside the moment when the Presidents Cup swung

If that Presidents Cup was boring, someone forgot to tell Tom Kim.

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CHARLOTTE, NC – What does a validation moment look like for Trevor Immelman? It sounds horrible like praying.

Emelman squatted this way — palms pressed together, head bent, eyes lowered — for just a minute in the 18th green at Quail Hollow on Saturday. But it was the moment that changed everything for the foreigners in the Presidents Cup.

Immelmann was at the forefront of the international team, all 30 or so, when they made it to the 18th green and their Presidents Cup hopes hung in the balance. their trust – in them Faith – Set up in the biggest match of the day, pitting the 20-year-old gunslinger against what may be the world’s most dominant match-playing pair.

Just weeks after Emmelman threw a Hill Mary in his years-long effort to lead the Presidents Cup team for a kid he’d known for two months, baby Tom Kim found the ball falling into his hands in the end zone. But at first he had to hit hard, so Trevor Immelman prayed.

“I just want him to do it,” Immelman begged. “I want him to do it.”

Some prayers take a few weeks to answer. Some only take a few seconds.

“He made it. We were very proud of him.”

International completed – Been completed When the morning quartet ended on Saturday shortly after noon on the eastern day. They trailed 10-4 against the Americans heading into the fourth and final session of team play. Sure, the afternoon quadruple session was a chance for even a few things, but with the U.S. Quartet Tyrant Patrick Cantlay/Xander Shaveli and Justin Thomas/Jordan Spieth riding to start, it seemed very likely that the Americans would quit forever. . The international players were simply too young, too inexperienced, and made too few hits. Americans were very talented, very cruel and very opportunistic.

Then the afternoon quadruple play session happened, and now the ledger reads 11-7.

So how did we end up here, with the Americans on the defensive, the Americans with the momentum, and the US down just four points? For that, we’ll need to give the floor to the indisputable star of Presidents Cup Week, Tom Kim.

Kim’s boundless energy soon transformed him into the playable hero (or heel) upon which careers are built. The 20-year-old hits overweight with astonishing frequency at Quail Hollow, displaying a rare combination of shooting ability and spine skills with his racket. What has caught the golf world’s attention, however, is its big destination, which has been fired every time Kim’s team has hacked a shot over the past few days.

On Saturday afternoons, fist pumps often came to Tom, who teamed up with fellow countryman Se Woo Kim for the heavyweight championship match. The South Koreans were among the underdogs entering their encounter with Shaveli and Cantlay, who had already outpaced Kim in the four-way play session on Friday afternoon and entered the match by a 4-up average difference over the last four games.

The two players played brilliantly throughout the afternoon, including a stunning bird strike from Chaveli on the 15th that briefly turned the match in their favour. But then the four guys walked down the 18th lane tied up, and Kim needed a moment to shine.

Tom Kim swings the Iron Heads Cup

After being dumped from LIV, Tom Kim quickly became a star on the PGA Tour


James Colgan

“He’s probably 60 yards behind his opponents. He’s above the ball. I look back, and I see the American golfers in carts behind him.” Seated on wagons 15 yards from him.”

Kim pulled 2 irons and smoked them, watching his approach at 240 yards came to rest 10 feet from the mast. Cantlay and Schaeffel came after them (and from a very close distance), neither of them had put their approach within 10 yards. In the green, each of Kim’s three partners misses their bird attempts. Tom Kim’s turn finally came.

In these moments—those that define matches and tournaments—the whole game of golf can be reduced to just two kinds: those who want it, and those who don’t. need to He. She.

Tom Kim needed it.

“Oh, 100 percent,” he said. “I was already thinking in the back of my mind, ‘If this happens, what am I going to do? How am I going to celebrate? That’s if I get in, right?’ I stayed for the moment, but that was definitely on my mind. And yeah, I mean, I wanted it more than anything. Another in the world.”

I hit him in the middle. Byrdie. game over.

Kim blew off right, and ran across the green with childlike joy. But it was the first man he met on the roof, Immelmann, who felt the purest of happiness.

“Hey baby!” He exhaled from the green. “How do you like Who – which?!”

If not for a chance encounter at this year’s Open, Tom Kim wouldn’t be here.

International captain Emelmann wasn’t looking for fresh blood when Kim approached him on the fourth hole on the old court. Immelmann spent the better part of two years building an identity for an international team, and a few defections from LIV weren’t enough to get him to consider a 20-year-old rookie. But Kim was persistent.

“Immediately made an impression on me, like immediately,” Immelman said. “It’s just my different wire. I know how much he wanted to make this team because from the moment I met him and gave him my number on that fourth track, he texted me a lot every day.”

When it came time for Emmelman to make his captain’s choices, Kim’s decision agonized. It was a gamble to add a player inexperienced by Kim and anonymity to the international roster, and Immelmann has invested a lot in building the team the right way. Was it worth giving up all that to add a wild card to the list? Finally he gave in.

“He was so desperate to be on this team, I just wanted him this moment,” said Immelman.

The international team celebrates Saturday after Tom Kim’s throw at 18 at Quail Hollow.

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By the time he hit the 18th lane on Saturday night, Immelmann knew more than the talent of his youngest competitor. But no one, not even Immelmann, could have predicted that he would respond with this Iron 2.

“For him to give up the 50 or 60-yard advantage and put an iron in and make it, man, that shows some courage,” said Immelman afterwards. “I’ve had a few moments like this in my career. There’s some turmoil going on inside in those moments. You’re excited, you’re anxious, you’re nervous. You have some faith in there. Like there’s a lot going on, man.”

For Immelmann, it was a moment of heroism. The Internationals enter Sunday’s singles matches with a fighting chance. And if the reaction to the green after Kim poured into his bird mode was any indication, they know it, too. Immelmann’s team is four points behind, the same deficit achieved after two massive comebacks from the previous game – Medina and Brooklyn.

US Captain Davis Love III admitted it was a “magic number”.

Saturday night, there’s not much question who will be the emotional leader of this charge: the 20-year-old.

“He has the potential to be a world star, this kid,” said Emelman. “I know he owns the game. We saw he owns the game. But what I’ve learned about the character and his heart and what he represents this week, man, I’m a huge fan.”

Tom Kim was still afloat when he walked the green on Saturday night for the President’s Cup.

He just managed to get rid of his life. His enclosure, Joe Skovron, and the captain remained faithfully behind him, smoothing out the jagged marks he had left in green.

Kim returned to his team with his shirt still untucked. This will soon be followed by a celebration in the international team room which will be audible all the way across from the training range. But before he could get there, he stopped to give one last push to the world of golf.

He said, “We’re here to fight.” “We are here to win.”

James Colgan Editor

James Colgan is an associate editor at GOLF, contributing stories to the site and magazine. Hot Mic writes GOLF’s weekly media column, and uses his expertise in broadcasting across social media and the brand’s video platforms. James, who graduated in 2019 from Syracuse University — and obviously his golf course — still thawed four years ago in the snow. Prior to joining GOLF, James was a scholarship holder (and a smart looper) in Long Island, where he belongs. He can be reached at

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